Disapproving decree a retreat from electoral reform: Govt
The lower house of the parliament rejected President Ashraf Ghani’s legislative decree on election reforms as of the 153 lawmakers present, 126 voted against the decree.
Under Article 79 of the Constitution, the president can issue legislative decrees on all issues barring budget and financial matterswhen the parliament is on recess.
But the decrees need to be approved by the parliament within 30 days of returning from vacation. Election reforms are a key point of the agreement on the national unity government.
President Ghani, in July2015, when the National Assembly was on summer recess, issued his first decree on electoral reforms. But the parliament after returning from the break rejected it.
Again in March2016, the president issued a second decree when the parliament had risen for the winter recess. It was placed before the house after being discussed by Wolesi Jirga commissions.
A lawmaker, SharifiBalkhabi, told Monday’s session that nine commissions of the parliament had rejected the decree while six other panels suggested its approval after being duly amended.
Some house panels said the decree should be approved to end differences between government leaders on election reforms, pave the ground for Wolesi Jirga elections and win the international community’s trust.
Presidential spokesman Mohammad Haroon Chakhansori told a press conference in Kabul that President Ghani respected the authorities of parliament but the rejection of his decree was a retreat from the electoral reform process.
He said the government and the people had been expecting lawmakers would approve the decree after amending controversial articles in order to intensify the electoral reform process and preparations for holding the parliamentary elections.
In agreement with the national assembly and in compliance with presidential orders, Chakhansori said two committees of the finance and interior ministries had launched their work to find resources for holding parliamentary elections and maintain security.
For this reason, he said, the president had written a letter to the United Nations secretary general to highlight the importance of the elections and seek international assistance.
In light of the parliament decision, the government would try to hold the parliamentary and district council elections and would pursue the electoral reform process after consultation with legal and other related departments, political and civil society groups, he said.
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