3rd electoral reform decree splits lawmakers
KABUL (Pajhwok): Some lower house or Wolesi Jirga members on Saturday termed as ‘illegal’ a third presidential legislative decree on electoral reforms, saying constituencies-based elections would create more problems, but other lawmakers held different views.
Earlier this month, the Cabinet approved in principle a draft election law, underlining the imperative of a single-seat system at polling stations for the upcoming Wolesi Jirga polls.
At a meeting chaired by President Ashraf Ghani, the election law was shared with the Cabinet by 2nd Vice-President Sarwar Danish and head of the Research Committee.
Danish said the draft law was placed before the Council of Ministers after participants floated their suggestions about amendments and a full review based on international norms.
The election reforms process, launched by the unity government, remains controversial as the Parliament has already rejected two presidential decrees in this regard.
However, the commission overseeing implementation of the constitution has suggested that the president could go ahead with election reform agenda during the parliament summer break.
Ghulam Hussain Mustafavi, a lawmaker from Maidan Wardak province, said the third presidential decree was against the Constitution and was issued during Wolesi Jirga’s formal days.
He said the third decree issued two days when the summer recess was over and had no legal basis.
Article 79 of the Constitution says: “During the recess of the House of Representatives, the Government shall, in case of an immediate need, issue legislative decrees, except in matters related to budget and financial affairs. Legislative decrees, after endorsement by the President, shall acquire the force of law. Legislative decrees shall be presented to the National Assembly within thirty days of convening its first session, and if rejected by the National Assembly, they become void.”
Naseri accused the government of fueling ethnic and linguistic differences among the people and rejected the constituencies-based election system. “The government doesn’t have the ability to administer 34 provinces so how it would manage election in 250 provinces of the country,” he questioned.
He said creating more constituencies would pave the ground for public clashes during elections and this way an internal conflict could erupt.
He questioned on the basis of which analysis the decision had been taken, adding that it would create more problems rather than controlling and reforming the system.
But Lawmaker Shinkai Karokhel said: “Today half of the population of Afghanistan is without representation.” She said with the creation of more constituencies, justice would be done with people and they would be able to secure their electoral rights.
Niamatulah Ghafari, deputy speaker who chaired the session, tasked the house legislative affairs commission to investigate the issuance of the third presidential decree.
Earlier, Eng. Hasibullah Kalimzai, deputy chairman Senate, welcomed the electoral reforms and termed the creation of more constituencies as a positive move.
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