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Conditions for candidates insufficient: Election observers

Conditions for candidates insufficient: Election observers

Apr 24, 2018 - 16:06

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Election observers on Tuesday said conditions for parliamentary election candidates, particularly womeninfo-icon, were not satisfactory.

The election law, approved by parliament in 2013, law was amended for reforms in 2017. Parliament and the president okayed the reformed measure.

Some fundamental conditions in the new election law are that a candidate

  • Should be the citizen of Afghanistaninfo-icon or having got Afghan citizenship 10 years before his/her candidacy.
  • Is not accused of crimes against humanity, other serious offenses, and not deprived by court of his/her civil rights.
  • Must have attained 25 years of age on the day of nomination for Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon, provincial council and district council elections.
  • Will have to provide accurate information about income sources and the amount spent on his/her campaign.
  • Must avoid receiving funds for the election campaign from foreign nationals, governments or representatives based in Afghanistan.
  • Must pay 30,000 afghanis in guarantee for Wolesi Jirga candidacy and 10,000 afghanis for district council.
  • Should consider election campaign violations that lead to jail terms of three months to five years.
  • Should take into account cash fines for election law violations.
  • Educational qualifications and work experience in government and non-governmental organisations have been prioritised over securing a high number of votes.

Mohammad Naeem Ayubzada, head of the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA), said: “Unfortunately, there have been no encouraging changes in the new election law.”

“Conditions for women should have been simplified so that they are encouraged to participate in elections. Women should have been allowed to win even with limited votes to pave the ground for their active participation in elections. But unfortunately, such conditions don’t exist,” he said.

“There are no rules for preventing strongmen, warlords, criminals and traitors from contesting the vote. The law says courts can decide crimes against nominees. But no courts have so far been specified for investigating the crimes,” Ayubzada explained.

Yousuf Rashid, chief executive of the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA), said conditions mentioned in the new law for candidates were not enough. The only way people can follow was to vote for qualified candidates and strictly watch the election process, he commented.

Syed Hafizullah Hashimi, an Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon) member, said any complaints about conditions for candidates should be referred to the Wolesi Jirga and the Presidential Palace.

Accepting or rejecting suggestions of election observers and the civil societyinfo-icon about the law is the prerogative of parliament and the Presidential Palace. The IEC was obliged to follow the new law, he concluded.


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