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‘Election watchdogs suggestions for reforms not implemented’

‘Election watchdogs suggestions for reforms not implemented’

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Feb 04, 2018 - 19:44

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Civil societyinfo-icon institutes on Sunday expressed concern over the reform process and slow paced preparations for the upcoming elections, asking the government to take action for balancing polling stations and resister voters’ names.

Nai, an organization supporting open media in Afghanistaninfo-icon, Election and Transparency Watch Organization of Afghanistan (ETWA), Womeninfo-icon for Election and Democracy Organization of Afghanistan (WEDA) and Training Human Rights Association (THRA) shared a joint statement with reports during a press conference today here.

The statement said that the government ignored the suggestions sets of Electoral Reforms Commission for amendment in election laws, the selection committee for the election commissions, independency of election commissions, voting system and other suggestions.

The statement also said that there were no any developments in implementation of programs including preparation of voters list, balancing polling stations and minimizing electoral districts.

Organs concerned also did not consult with political processes for creating a political consensus for election reforms and making preparations for the upcoming elections, the source said.

The Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon and district council elections are expected to hold on Julay 7, 2019. However, Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon) has said that the election may be delayed.

The commission said efforts were rapidly underway to finalize the election schedule.

The president has released a legislative decree for election reforms but the Wolesi Jirga did not add it to its agenda as the house has no the authority to discuss law amendments one year prior of election, therefore the decree would be enforced.

The mentioned institutes say that the selection process for members of the election commissions was not transparent and influenced by political groups. They say people who were qualified for the membership of the election commissions were not given a chance.

They say secretary and spokesperson positions of the IEC should be filled through internal election as soon as possible.

IEC has no secretary and spokesperson so far. The commission officials refused to comment on the regard.

Habib Rahman Nang, a leadership member of ETWA, talking on behalf of other institutes, asked the IEC officials to begin consultations with political processes for creating a political consensus as soon as possible.

He suggested a joint delegation comprised of representatives of the government, political parties, civil society institutes and media should be created for assessment of the election reform process and share their suggestions for solution to problems with the government.

He said that the government should provide clarification about the leadership of secretary positions of the IEC and Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) by acting officials.

The joint statement of the civil society institutes said, “Preparations for registration of voters, balancing the polling stations and preparing the election schedule should be done as soon as possible and the Population Registration Department should start distribution of paper identity cards on time,”

The institutes also asked the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) to support the IEC for identification of districts’ borders.

They also asked security organs to develop an organized plan for maintaining security for the upcoming election process.

mds

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