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President to issue third electoral reform decree soon

President to issue third electoral reform decree soon

Aug 08, 2016 - 18:09

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): President Ashraf Ghani will issue a third legislative decree about electoral reforms soon after being processed by the Presidential Palace legislation committee, a statement from the palace said on Monday.

The president’s first legislative decree on composition and responsibilities of the two election commissions was rejected by parliament.

A second legislative decree was also rejected by Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon or lower house, but approved by Meshrano Jirgainfo-icon or upper house.

Due to differences over the decree’s approval, the issue was referred to a joint parliamentary commission that could not resolve the matter until the Wolesi Jirga rose for the summer break on July 22.

The government then referred the issue to the Independent Commission for Overseeing the Implementation of the Constitution (ICOIC) for a solution.

The ICOIC said the president could release and execute legislative decrees during the summer recess of parliament because the government did not require to refer decrees regarding elections to parliament in its final year of legislative term.

The ICOIC further said parliament members in their final year of legislative term could not add approval of decrees to the house agenda.

Shah Hussain Murtazawi, president’s deputy spokesman, told Pajhwok Afghan News the Presidential Palace’s legislative committee, led by second vice-president Sarwar Danish, was working on a third presidential decree.

After being completed, the decree would be soon (today or tomorrow) released, he said.

Sharifa Zurmati, a member of the Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon), said the president’s legislative decree would possibly be released today.

She opposed legislative decrees and said government leaders were trying to divide the election commissions and parliament in the name of electoral reforms.

The Wolesi Jirga’s five-year mandate expired on June 22, 2015, but President Ghani extended its mandate until fresh elections are held.

Zurmati said the first and second legislative decrees were not approved because of personal interests of some lawmakers. She said the new decree would also bring under question the legitimacy of the election system.

“Government leaders have power, they can remove election commissioners by force, but such acts would lead the government towards illegitimacy,” she said. without providing more details.

A number of election observers have welcomed the ICOIC’s opinion about implementation of new legislative decree. But some lawmakers said a new legislative decree should not be released until the fate of the second decree was decided.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Abdullah Abdullah told a Cabinet meeting on Monday that the electoral reform issue was recently paid more attention in different meetings.

He said the aim of the discussions was to bring reforms to the election system. He assured that the reforms would be applied to the electoral regime.


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