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Removal of Ahmadzai lacks legal basis: Experts

Removal of Ahmadzai lacks legal basis: Experts

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Nov 16, 2017 - 23:42

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Jabha-i-Milli Naveen Afghanistaninfo-icon political party on Thursday welcomed the ousting of the Independent Election Commission chief while legal experts said the move lacked legal basis.

President Ashraf Ghani yesterday decreed removal of IECinfo-icon chief Najibullah Ahmadzai. The presidential decree said removing Najibullah Ahmadzai as member of the election commission was based on the decision and demand of the same commission.

Jabha-i-Milli Naveen spokesman Syed Jawad Hussani told a gathering in Kabul that Ahmadzai removal as the IEC chief was a positive development.

He said the new IEC head should be appointed in consultations with political parties and civil societyinfo-icon groups in order to further people’s trust in the electoral regime.

Hussaini demanded reforms in the election commission, saying time was running out for making preparations for next year’s parliamentary and district council elections.

However, political experts said the government’s move to oust the IEC head lacked legal basis and was against the election law.

Article 16 of the election law says a member of the election commission can be terminated under following conditions:

Forgery in academic documents, conviction of crime, having membership of a political party while on-service, violations of the constitution and other laws, prolonged or incurable illness, absent from office for more than 20 days.

Legal expert Dr. Kabir Ranjbar told Pajhwok that members of the election commission were appointed for a specific term in office and no one had the right to remove them without convincing reasons.

Najibullah Ahmadzai was appointed as member of the IEC and later as chief of the commission on November 27, 2016.

“Unfortunately, the way the IEC chief was removed has no legal basis, this decision should have been taken by the judiciary.

He said such behavior could undermine the IEC independence and could prove a wrong precedent for future decisions.

Another legal expert, Ajmal Hodman, said the five IEC members, who signed a letter and sent that to the President, had offered no convincing evidence to seek removal of Ahmadzai.

The commission has seven members and the commission head, deputy head and secretary are elected by the members from among themselves.

“No mechanism is considered in the election law for unseating a member of the election commission and that is why some members of the commission had demanded removal of Ahmadzai on the government’s recommendation.”

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