Senators differ over decree’s inclusion in agenda
Under Article 109th of the Constitution proposals for amendments to the electoral law cannot be included in the working agenda of the assembly during the last year of the legislative period.
Senate’s legislative commission head, Maulvi Mahiuddin Musif, said preparing voter lists before elections, invalidating pervious voter cards, issuing new cards and the allocation of a seat for Hindus and Sikhs in the Wolesi Jirga were issues mentioned in the presidential decree.
Senator Rahmatullah Achakzai form southern Kandahar province said “the legislative decree regarding elections should be included in the agenda of the Meshrano Jirga because elections to the Wolesi Jirga and the district councils are vital for sustainability of the system.”
He asked the administrative board of the upper house to include the item in the agenda because 50 percent members of Meshrano Jirga were in their first legislative term and only the selective members of the Senate would complete their tenure over the next three weeks.
However, Mohammad Alam Ezedyar, the first deputy chairman, said the heads of committees have not included the decree in the agenda because the parliament could not discuss such issues in its final year as it is against the article 109th of the constitution.”
“We can’t take any step against the law and rules. The Wolesi Jirga had also not included the issue in its agenda because the parliament could not include election related issues in its agenda in the final year of the term,” Senate chairman Fazal Hadi Muslimyar said. “If the issue is included in the agenda, I would not participate in the session that day,” Musliamyar said.
However, Ezidyar said they had already included the presidential decree approving seven suggestions of the Electoral Reform Commission and was scheduled to be discussed in Tuesday’s general session.
The decreed articles include the formation of the selection committee, the preparation of voter lists on the basis of electronic identity cards, a review of polling stations, reduction in the number of members of election commissions and increasing the presence of women on provincial and district councils up to 25 percent and others.
The Wolesi Jirga or lower house of parliament had already rejected the legislative decree and but if the decree is approved by the Meshrano Jirga then the issued is decided in a joint commission of parliament.
The article 100th of the constitution says “In case the decision of one house is rejected by another house, a combined committee composed of equal members of each house is formed to resolve the disagreement. The decision of the committee is enforced after its approval by the President.
In case the combined committee cannot solve the disagreement, the defeated resolution is considered void. And, if the resolution is approved by the Wolesi Jirga, it can be approved in the next session of the Wolesi Jirga by the majority of its members.
This approval is assumed as enforceable, after it is signed by the President, without submission to the Meshrano Jirga.
In case the disagreement between the two houses is over legislations involving financial affairs, and the combined committee is not able to resolve it, the Wolesi Jirga can approve the draft by the majority vote of its members.
This draft is assumed as enforceable without submission to the Meshrano Jirga after it is signed by the President.”
The article 79th of the constitution, says “In cases of recess of the Wolesi Jirga, the government can adopt legislation in an emergency situation on matters other than those related to budget and financial affairs.
The legislative decrees become laws after they are signed by the President.
The legislative decrees should be submitted to the National Assembly in the course of thirty days beginning from the first session of the National Assembly.
In case of rejection by the National Assembly, the legislations become void.”
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