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Govt using delay tactics to hold WJ polls: Watchdogs

Govt using delay tactics to hold WJ polls: Watchdogs

Sep 18, 2016 - 18:50

KABULinfo-icon CITY (Pajhwok): Election watchdogs on Sunday said the government move tasking the election commission with deciding about polling constituencies was a tactic to delay holding Wolesi Jirg (WJ) and district council elections.

Yousuf Rashid, executive director of the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistaninfo-icon (FEFA), told reporters here that it was not yet known when the new commission would start work.

He said authorizing new commissioners to demarcate voting constituencies was a ploy to prolong the electoral process.

“If the commission starts work in two months and takes three months to define constituencies and again the government takes some months to prepare for elections, it will take nearly a year to go to lower house polls,” he said.

Rashid said if the government had any plan to conduct WJ elections next year, it would have started preparations for the process some eight months ago because the creation of election constituencies in provinces was difficult looking at the current security situation.

Habib Rahman Nang, a member of the Afghanistan Civil Societies Election Network (ACSEN), alleged the national unity government was delaying the elections to preserve its own interest.

He termed the delay against the interest of the people of Afghanistan and asked the government leaders to give the national interest a priority over their personal interests.

Mesharano Jirgainfo-icon member Gulali Akbari said constituencies-based polling was against the interest of the people and was difficult to be a successful process at the current security situation of the country.

Earlier, the Cabinet has approved in principle a draft election law, underlining the imperative of a single-seat system at polling stations for the upcoming WJ 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 had 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.

Earlier today, Danish said the revised version of election law has been finalized, approved by the Cabinet and sent to the president for endorsement in last days of Wolesi Jirag (WJ) recess.

A statement from Danish office said the 2nd VP believed after implementation of the revised version of the law, the selection committee would be able to resume its work and the ground for the electoral reform would be paved.

He said after deep discussions, it was decided that the election commission would decide about constituencies looking at population and areas in line with Article 83 of the Constitution.

He said the commission would be tasked to complete its work regarding the demarcation of constituencies in three months after deep studies and in coordination with local authorities and influential individuals.

He said the commission would then submit its report to the Cabinet for a review and would be returned back to the commission after being reviewed.


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