Some circles at Presidential Palace lobbied to reject decree: Dashti
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Afghanistan National Journalists Union (ANJU) on Tuesday claimed some circles inside the Presidential Palace had been lobbying to reject the previous legislative decree on electoral reforms.
But the deputy presidential spokesman said the unity government took the decision on the selection committee after consultations with members of parliament and political parties.
The president had previously issued a decree approving seven suggestions of the Electoral Reform Commission (ERC), including the creation of a selection commitee to recomend new election commissioners.
The ERC was formed on July 21 in compliance with a presidential decree. The commission collected public views regarding electoral reforms after a month-long hard work and compiled the suggestions in ten articles before submitting them to the government.
President Ashraf Ghani had decreed seven suggestions of the ERC and called for urgent measures to provide legal cover for the proposals approved.
Some of the major suggestions include registration of voters, making the election bodies accountable, the presence of two foreigners on the Independent Election Complaints Commission (IECC), reservation of one seat at the Wolesi Jirga for Hindu minority, identification and shrinking of the constituencies.
But on December 21, the Wolesi Jirga rejected the legislative decree on electoral reforms and powers of the both Independent Election Commission and the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC).
According to that decree, there were four members in the selection committee from the Supreme Court, the AIHRC, the Constitution oversight commission and the Independent Administrative Reform & Civil Service Commission (IARCSC) and three members from the civil society organizations.
ANJU head Fahim Dashti told a press conference that National Security Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar, Finance Minister Eklil Hakimi and Political Advisor to President Mohamamd Akram Khpalwak had been behind his removal from the selection committee.
He said he was informed by some lawmakers that some networks at the Presidential Palace had been trying to reject the previous legislative decree by parliament.
After the decree’ rejection, the selection committee lost its legal status and ceased its activities, he said.
“At the start, we thought the decree was rejected by lawmakers themselves, but later it was disclosed that key officials at the Presidential Palace were against the decree,” he said, adding if it was not the case, why the new decree was published and enforced without approval from the parliament.
Both the president and chief executive officer (CEO) had agreed on a nine-member selection committee, but on Sunday Atmar went to the CEO’s office and asked him to reduce the number of the committee’ members to seven and argued that the two members (Fahim Dashti and Nadar Hotak) should be removed, he claimed. Atmar told the CEO that the two members would be appointed as ambassadors.
“I believe the president is personally involved in this, but there are some other people at the Palace who do such things. Unfortunately, the CEO office lacks the capacity to prevent such plots and bad advices to the president,” he said.
Din Mohammad Gran from the Supreme Court High Council, Mohammad Nadar Hotak from IARCSC, Lotfur Rahman from the Constitution oversight commission, Fahim Dashti from ANJU, Mohammad Naeem Ayubzada from civil society, Zarqa Yaftali from women’s rights organizations and Ahmad Zia Langari from AIHRC were members of the previous selection committee.
Deputy spokesman for the CEO office, Javed Faisal, denied commenting on Dashti’s claim and referred this reporter to approach the president’s office and the National Security Council in this regard.
However, deputy presidential spokesman, Zafar Hashimi, said in a video message that the decision on the selection committee had not been made based on anybody’s of personal interest, but was taken by the unity government after consultations with parliamentarians and political figures.
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