WJ summons ICOIC members on electoral reform decree
KABUL CITY (Pajhwok): Wolesi Jirga (WJ) -- lower house of parliament -- on Saturday decided to summon members of the Independent Commission for Overseeing the Implementation of Constitution (ICOIC) to brief lawmakers on the third presidential decree on election reforms.
After the rejection of the two presidential decrees on election reforms by the assembly, the ICOIC advised the president to go ahead with the 3rd decree without involving MPs as the lower house could be dissolve anytime ahead of elections.
The speakers and some lawmakers say the fate of the 2nd presidential decree is not ascwerained yet, and issuing the 3rd one is against the laws. ICOIC members be summoned to explain their position to [arliamentarians, they believe.
On August 23, 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 the 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. Ghani had tasked Danish with finalizing the draft law keeping in view cabinet suggestions.
Under the single-seat election system, provinces are divided into polling stations based on their populations. At ach polling station, votes are cast only for candidates from the relevant area.
Abdul Qader Zazai, a lawmaker from Kabul, claimed the president could not issue a 3rd decree until the fate of the 2nd was not determined.
Hitting out at the ICOIC, the lawmakers said amending laws was the discretion of parliament, but ICOIC members had transferred the power to the president.
He suggested ICOIC members be summoned to brief MPs on violations of the laws they are committed to enforce. “Why didn't the commission advise the president earlier. In fact, this act was a reaction to the house's decisions on previous decrees,” he questioned.
Mirbat Khan Zazai, a lawmaker from Paktika province, said: “No commission or authority has the right to violate or curtail the powers of parliament. As the fate of the 2nd decree remains unclear, how can the president issue the 3rd one?”
He alleged the ICOIC was tilting towards the government and said advice of the commission represented the government's will.
Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said the fate of the 2nd presidential decree on election reforms was yet to be decided. The house will take a decision on it when a majority of members are present.
The speakers also sought the views of ICOIC members and ordered the the house panel concerned to summon members of ICOIC.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.