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Electoral reform suggestions incomplete: MPs

Electoral reform suggestions incomplete: MPs

Sep 16, 2015 - 19:35

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Some Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon (WJ) members on Wednesday termed as incomplete the Election Reform Commission (ERC)’s suggestions to overhaul the country’s electoral system.

Speaking at today’s session, they said the government should launch issuing the computerized identity cards for the sake of transparent future elections.

Assadullah Sadati, a lawmaker from central Daikundi province and member of the ERC, briefed the house about the panel’s performance. He said the Presidential Palace had sought more information about the creation of the proposed transparency committee, voter lists, and changes to the structure of the electoral regime.

He said the current electoral system in Afghanistaninfo-icon was inappropriate and was currently being practiced only in four countries of the worldinfo-icon.

The ERC was formed on July 21 in compliance with a presidential decree. The commission collected public views regarding electoral reforms after a month-long hard work and compiled the suggestions in ten articles before submitting them to the government.

Some of the major suggestions include registration of voters, making the election bodies accountable, the presence of two foreigners on the Independent Election Complaints Commission (IECC), reservation of one seat at the Wolesi Jirga for Hindu minority, identification and shrinking of the constituencies.

Other proposals include distribution of the computerised identity cards, a 25 percent representation of womeninfo-icon in provincial and district councils and invalidation of the current voter cards.

The ERC has also suggested that the number of Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon) commissioners should be reduced from the current nine to seven and the IECC members from seven to five.

Earlier, President Ashraf Ghani decreed seven suggestions of the ERC and called for urgent measures to provide legal cover for the proposals approved.

Following month-long discussions with different segments of societyinfo-icon, the electoral reform commission submitted its first set of suggestions last week to the president.

In his decree, President Ghani praised the performance of the panel, and approved their suggestions for short-term reforms, a statement from the Presidential Palace had said.

In the decree, the president directed the reform panel to scrutinise all the legal, technical and practical aspects of their suggestions and present their detailed proposals to the chief executive’s office (CEO).

A member of the panel, wishing to go unnamed, told Pajhwok Afghan News the three suggestions (first, second, eighth) that the president did not include in his decree, included changes to the electoral system, making some constituencies smaller and formation of a transparency commission.

But most lawmakers criticised the ERC suggestions. Amanullah Paiman from northwestern Badakhshan, said the ERC suggestions were incomplete and were against the law. He called for convening a Loya Jirgainfo-icon into session to make a decision on electoral reforms.

Munawwar Shah Bahadur from Herat province and Kamal Nasir Osoli also termed the ERC recommendations as incomplete and against the law.

Osoli said there were no flaws in the current electoral system, but it had been the election commissioners who could not perform well their job and produced unclear election results. 

Abdul Qadir Zazai Watandost, a lawmaker from Kabul, also disapproved the ERC suggestions. He said most of the ERC suggestion were already mentioned in the available laws but could not be implemented.

He, however, said the distribution of e-ID cards was the most important step for transparent elections, but there had been no emphasise in the ERC proposals on the issue.

Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said the ERC suggestions needed to be reconsidered. He also stressed the distribution of e-ID cards for ensuring free and free elections.



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