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MPs welcome new date, want fair elections

MPs welcome new date, want fair elections

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Apr 02, 2018 - 19:15

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon members on Monday welcomed October 20 as a fresh date to hold elections to the lower house of parliament and district councils but urged the international community to ensure the electoral process went transparently.

The Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon) on Sunday announced Oct 20 a new date to hold the long due elections to the Wolesi Jirga and district councils.

At Monday’s session, Wolesi Jirga members debated the fresh election schedule. Lawmaker Shakiba Hashimi from southern Kandahar province said she welcomed the new date.

“We representatives of the people are not afraid of elections, but what worries us is the lack of transparency,” she remarked.

Hashimi said the current IEC head had “a symbolic role” as appointments were being made by others.

She said the international community was financially supporting the democratic exercise in Afghanistaninfo-icon and should closely oversee the process.

Fekori Beheshti from central Bamiyan province also welcomed the new election schedule and said: "If the elections go successful, it will increase turnout, so the international community must guarantee this process."

He added the steps taken so far in the run-up to the Oct 20 polls had no guarantee that the forthcoming polls would be held in a transparent and fair manner. "If there is no guarantee, it will be selections not elections," he said.

Ali Akbar Ghasemi from southern Ghazni province also said he was concerned if the elections went wrong, it might cause problems in the country.

He also called on the international community to work alongside the Independent Election Commission (IEC) to ensure that the process was properly monitored.

Wolesi Jirga speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi also welcomed the rescheduling of the elections and asked the government to take serious measures that ensured security of voters and transparency in the conduct.

He urged the international community to cooperate with the Afghan election commission in holding the elections on the new date.

Elections to the Wolesi Jirga were due in 1394 solar yearinfo-icon under the Constitution, but this was not the case and the President extended the current Wolesi Jirga’s tenure until fresh polls.

pk/ma

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