Watchdogs welcome govt’s decision to hold parliamentary polls
KABUL (Pajhwok): Election watchdogs on Wednesday welcomed government’s decision to hold parliamentary and district council elections next year.
Yousuf Rashid, the Free Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) chief executive, told reporters in Kabul that they welcomed the president’s decision that removed confusion about the delayed votes.
However, he said FEFA was not sure about the government’s position regarding the ballots. He said the government should encourage people towards actively participating in elections and feared insecurity and violence could hamper successful conduct of future elections in the country.
Mohammad Naeem Ayubzada, head of the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA), termed the completion of the Election Reform Commission (ERC)’s job and launching work by the Selection Committee a success.
He said the government’s latest commitment showed it was interested in holding the parliamentary and district council polls.
Ayubzada said the government leaders had earlier said they would not interfere in the electoral bodies’ activities and would not allow anyone else to do so.
President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday said his government was ready to hold parliamentary and district council elections between summer and autumn of next year.
The president made the pledge during separate meetings with members of the Electoral Reform Commission and the selection committee at the Presidential Palace, a statement from the palace said.
The president, who was briefed on its latest report by the reform commission, urged the selection committee to consider proposals of the reform commission in its activities.
Ghani said the exact dates for holding parliamentary and district council elections were for the Independent Election Commission to announce under the relevant law.
The Wolesi Jirga’s five-year term was set to expire on June 22 this year, but elections due in April were postponed because of security fears and disagreement on how to ensure a fair vote after a disputed presidential election last year.
The president issued a decree in June this year, extending parliament’s mandate until a vote could be held.
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