Splitting electoral bodies to prove catastrophic: Sadat
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) chief on Thursday said he would not accept any new post if merely aimed at ousting him from the IECC.
In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, Abdul Sattar Sadat said immense pressure from international organizations prevented the Independent Election Commission (IEC) from announcing detailed results of the 2014 presidential elections.
He said holding parliamentary and district council elections would be impossible next solar year if the security situation further worsened or not improved.
The IEC has announced an October 15 date for holding the long-delayed parliamentary and district council elections, but the announcement appeared to have been made without coordination with the government.
Sadat said ensuring security and financing elections was not the job of election commissions, but the responsibility of the government and the international community.
He believed the government had no intention to hold the elections because illegal interference in the electoral system proved the government was not honest towards the process.
“The parliamentary rejection of the president’s legislative decrees on electoral reform shows the government is interfering. I don’t think the president will again commit such a mistake because releasing decrees was a historic mistake by the president,” he said.
The president is expected to release another legislative decree on electoral reform before the parliament’s winter recess ends and the new legislative session of the assembly begins.
“The electoral system cannot be reformed by replacing election commissioners rather the move would worsen the situation because all government positions are divided between the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the president. It would bear dangerous consequences if the election commissions are also divided,” Satad warned.
He said he did not believe the government would be able to sustain its political life if such changes were brought to the election commissions. “It would be like giving a cup of poison to the nascent democracy in Afghanistan.”
About voter lists, electronic ID cards distribution and absence of accurate census, Sadat said: “Non-availability of voter lists can lead to major fraud in elections. Based on our experience in previous elections, we should deeply review the election law and its process.”
He said most employees in the previous elections had been newly appointed and the election commissions did not know them.
He suggested individuals who had not worked with political parties should be appointed as election workers, otherwise electoral fraud could not prevented. He said there was no problem in the election law that could be blamed for electoral fraud.
About possible removal of election commissioners, he said: “Some foreign circles do not want commissioners on the electoral bodies because they had interfered in forming the government and, they want Afghans to be always in need of foreigners, our international allies also do not want a strong system in Afghanistan.”
He said some internal circles were also trying to justify their failure by saying the president also had no legal status and to allege the election commissioners had committed fraud.
Sadat said current members of the election commissions were impartial and they did not get directions from anyone. The two leaders now wanted to divide the election commissions among themselves and engineer the upcoming elections in their favour, Sadat claimed.
About the government’s offer to serve as Afghan ambassador in a foreign country, he said: “I am not much aware of this, I just read something about it on social media.”
“If such a suggestion is aimed to oust me from the IECC, I would not accept it because some biased individuals are trying to defame us, I will work always on positions which serve the interests of Afghanistan.”
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