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Senate also nixes presidential decree on ERC suggestions

Senate also nixes presidential decree on ERC suggestions

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Jan 05, 2016 - 13:40

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Meshrano Jirgainfo-icon -- the upper house of the parliament -- on Tuesday rejected a presidential decree regarding suggestions of the Electoral Reform Commission (ERC).

Formed on July 21 in compliance with a presidential decree, the ERC collected public opinion on revamping the election system over the past month and submitted its suggestions to the government.

Some of the major suggestions include registration of voters, making the election bodies accountable and the presence of two foreigners on the Independent Election Complaints Commission (IECC).

Reservation of one the Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon seat for the Hindu minority, identification and shrinking of constituencies are among the commission’s recommendations.

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

Earlier, President Ashraf Ghani had decreed seven suggestions of the ERC and called for urgent measures to provide legal cover to the proposals aimed at reforming the electoral system.

Maulviinfo-icon Mohiuddin Munsif, head of the Senate Legislative Commission, said the decree had suggested some amendments to the existing laws.

The number of election commissioners had been increased from seven to nine and the panel’s tenure from five to six years, he added. The selection committee yasked with nominating new commissioners has also been abolished.

Under the decree, the president is authorised to nominate new commissioners, a task that the selection committee was previously entrusted with.

Of the 51 senators present, 38 voted against the decree, and 12 voted in the favor of it, Munsif said.

Earlier, The Wolesi Jirga had also rejected the decree, saying the lower house had approved the election laws that were already in force.

nh/mud

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