Decree rejection against national interests: Senators
KABUL (Pajhwok): A number of upper house members on Tuesday stressed an early date for holding the delayed parliamentary and district council elections and termed the rejection of the presidential decree on electoral reforms by the lower house as against the national interests.
The Wolesi Jirga or lower house on Monday for a second time by a majority vote rejected President Ghani’s decree on composition, authorities and duties of election commissions.
Reforming the electoral regime is a key part of the unity government agreement reached between then presidential candidates Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah after the 2014 disputed election.
Therefore, the president issued two legislative decrees and each time the lower house rejected them.
Some experts believe the Wolesi Jirga’s working tenure has ended on June 22, 2015 and lacks the mandate to reject or approve presidential decrees.
However, the president has extended the parliament mandate through a decree until fresh elections are held.
Some people want dismissal of the incumbent electoral commissioners whose working tenure will end in 2019 under the Constitution.
Some lawmakers believe if they approve the presidential decree on electoral reform, President Ghani and CEO Abdullah would distribute posts of the election bodies between them.
Upper house member from Kabul Nisar Haris told Today’s session that the Wolesi Jirga by rejecting the presidential decree for a second time blamed itself for delaying the elections.
Stressing early elections to Wolesi Jirga and district councils, he said without reforms, elections meant nothing and the lower house’s WJ on the decrees (rejecting them) was against Afghanistan’s interests.
Senator Gul Ahmad Azami from western Farah also criticized the lower house for rejecting the decree.
“Elections are the basis of democracy and elections without reforms are useless. Delaying the elections is against government’s commitments and pledges with the public. It is undermining democracy and is an escape from social justice.”
He also emphasized on an early date to hold the elections and asked the government to adopt other ways for holding the polls.
Senator Mohammad Alam Ezidyar said yesterday’s decision of the lower house on the decree undermined the house legitimacy.
He asked colleagues in the upper house to approve the presidential decree for sake of reforms and elections.
However, Senate chairman Fazl Hadi Muslimyar said: “Anything the lower house does, they are accountable to their own people and we have nothing to do with it.”
He while addressing the Mishrano Jirga members said, “You based on our vital national interests, take your decisions regarding the decree to carry out elections.”
Under article 100th of the constitution if one house rejects the decision of another house, a joint committee is formed of equal members from each house 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 House of Representatives, it can be approved in the next session of the House of Representatives by the majority of its members.
This approval is assumed as enforceable, after it is signed by the President, without submission to the Senate.
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 House of Representatives can approve the draft by the majority vote of its members.
This draft is assumed as enforceable without submission to the Senate after it is signed by the President.”
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