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Senate to decide electoral reform decree’s fate on Tuesday

Senate to decide electoral reform decree’s fate on Tuesday

Jun 26, 2016 - 17:36

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The government has launched a campaign to get approved the second legislative decree on electoral reform from the Senate or Meshrano Jirgainfo-icon, but at the same time incumbent commissioners on the two electoral bodies are demanding the upper house reject the decree.

Reforming the electoral regime is a key part of the unity government deal reached between then presidential candidates Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah after the 2014 disputed election. Therefore, the president issued two legislative decrees but both were rejected by the lower house of parliament or Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon. The second decree was rejected on June 13.

The Meshrano Jirga has also rejected the first presidential decree on electoral reform and the upper house is all set to decide the fate of the second decree on Tuesday.

Hasibullah Kalimzai, deputy Senate chairman told today’s session that over the past one week, the government had started a campaign for approval of the second reform decree, but election commissioners were also making efforts at rejecting the decree by the upper house.  

He said both sides (the government and commissioners) along with administrative boards and individually had met all senators.

He said the Senate would approve or reject the decree keeping in mind the national interests. “The presidential decree is supposed to be discussed at the next session and will probably be approved if amended and if not amended, it can be rejected.”

He said it would have bad consequences for Afghanistaninfo-icon’s political situation and would affect foreign aid continuation in worst-case scenario if the Senate rejected the decree.

Kalimzai said electoral reforms were one of Afghanistan’s election donors’ conditions and if bringing reforms failed, donors would stop funding elections in Afghanistan.

Rahmatullah Asakzai, another lawmaker, termed the presidential decree on composition, duties and authorities of election commissions---Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon) and Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC)--- as against the law and said it needed amendments.

He said removal of word ‘independent’ from the election commissions’ names, selection of the commissions’ provincial heads by President Ghani and CEO Abdullah and a number of other controversial provisions in the decree needed to be amended.   

Mohammad Hassan Hotak, a member of the Senate legislative commission, said his commission, after receiving recommendations and suggestions from other commissions, had the intension to amend the decree.

Meanwhile, Senate chairman Fzal Hadi Muslimyar said they had much time to approve or reject the decree and senators could submit suggestions before a final decision.


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