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Manawi seeks changes in law on poll panels

Manawi seeks changes in law on poll panels

Jul 27, 2013 - 15:44

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): The Independent Election Commission chief on Saturday called for amendments to a newly-elected law regarding the structure, responsibilities and powers of the poll panels.

Fazal Ahmad Manawi, addressing a news conference in Kabul, said the law had certain legal flaws that should be removed through amendments.

“There are tens of weaknesses in this piece of legislation…but we should highlight the clauses that are in conflict with the constitution and basic democratic norms,” he said.

A joint commission of both houses of parliament approved on July 15 the election law. The panel passed controversial articles after a majority of members voted in their favour.

The head of a committee introducing Electoral Complaints Commission and IECinfo-icon members to the president will be elected under the law version passed by the upper house.  He/she should have only Afghan nationality.

The committee will be comprised of Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon speaker, Meshrano Jirgainfo-icon chairman, chief justice, attorney general, university teachers and civil societyinfo-icon members. 

Referring to the body that would suggest 14 members for IEC and eight for ECCinfo-icon, Manawi said there was no such committee anywhere in the worldinfo-icon.

He also questioned the inclusion of the chief justice in the committee, arguing: “It’s not a judicial issue that requires his presence. And why should we task our key institutions with irrelevant things?”

Despite branding the committee as unlawful, Manawi said: “I being a government servant will have to quit whenever my replacement is appointed. I’m bound to cooperate with my successor.”

He continues to stay as IEC head, though his constitutional tenure expired several months ago. Giving equal powers to the election commissions under the law would create serious problems, he warned.

Manawi said he had discussed with Karzai the legal flaws with the law, which the president has already sanctioned.


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