Majority of Afghans want the govt system changed: Poll
KABUL (Pajhwok): More than half of (51 percent) of respondents in a new opinion poll believe the country’s system should be changed from presidential to a combination of chancellery and parliamentary.
The survey conducted by the Afghan Institute of Strategic Studies (AISS) was released at a press conference in Kabul on Tuesday.
The study said the vast majority of the interviewees believed fundamental rights and freedoms had been appropriately fitted in the context of the Constitution.
Majority of respondents said they believed Islam had a strong legal position in the Constitution and basically there was no contradiction between Islam and the Constitution.
The AISS said the study’s major objective was to assess the public level of awareness on the Constitution’s content and major provisions and getting the reforming and adjusting views and recommendations for possible amendment of the Constitution.
Ten provinces including Badakhshan, Balkh, Bamyan, Ghazni, Ghor, Herat, Kabul, Kandahar, Kunduz and Nangarhar were chosen due to their political and social importance in four main zones.
The majority of the interviewees believe that guaranteeing equal rights in any level for all citizens should be the main priority in the Constitution.
Some of them think the result of distribution of power based on ethnicity is that the least populated groups become effectively second-class citizens and they cannot make their way through the main power circles and would not be counted in decision making on the basis of civil rights and capacity.
In the study, strengthening local democracy and reforming the administrative system were reasonable demands of the experts and majority of interviewees.
According to the suggestions, all senior officials of a local government should be elected.
More than half (51%) of interviewees (respondents) believe the system should be changed from presidential to a combination of chancellery (president and chancellor, 23%) and parliamentary (28%).
Around a third of respondents believe that the constitution was clear enough about the local governance.
However, practically it has not been granted the necessary authority which is mentioned in the Constitution.
But some experts believe the government is too centralized (even if the constitution is implemented completely), therefore they insist on strengthening local democracy through elections for choosing high official positions of local government and granting more authority to local government institutions.
Finally, a small number of the respondent believes that Afghanistan needs a strong centralized government.
Around one third of respondents stated that the president authorities are too much and more than necessary, which according to some experts is the reason of the ethnic context for power.
They believe that the president power should become less and be divided to other government bodies.
The viewpoints of most respondents about the consistency of the current practices in relation between the government, president, and legislation, mostly include some criticism about the lack of respect for the law, by all three branches of the government.
More than half of respondents state they are in favor of parliamentary system, and presidential chancellor system (like French), though there are disagreements how to implement each.
There are two major viewpoints about the electoral system. Proponents of one view believe that it is not necessary to determine all the details of the electoral system components in the constitution.
But the other group insists it is important that there should be more explanations and details on the issues like the change of electoral system (from single non-transferable vote system to proportional system), taking the political parties position into account, determining the electoral constituencies, and the share of public.
The majority of respondents believe the monitoring mechanism of the parliament on the executive branch is not being implemented, though it is anticipated in the constitution.
The majority of respondents believe that a constitutional court is necessary for monitoring the implementation of law.
They also argue this court should have the competency of interpreting the constitution, investigating violations of the constitution, and handling disputes between three branches of the government.
Around half of respondents believe the existing mechanism for modifying the constitution should not be changed. The other half prefers this system to be changed.
Their main arguments are that the process of amendment should become easier, and public participation should arise.
The respondents mostly suggest the amendment about issues including presidential system reform, strengthening local government, formation of the constitutional court, strengthening monitoring system of constitution implementation, regulating the market economy, reinforcement of political parties, and ensuring equal rights for all citizens.
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