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Afghan parliament not effectively exercised some powers: AREU

Afghan parliament not effectively exercised some powers: AREU

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Jan 29, 2019 - 21:08

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Afghanistaninfo-icon Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) on Tuesday released a research paper which said an ill-suited electoral system coupled with systematic government interference and personality-based politics had created an undisciplined, fragmented and uncoordinated parliament.

The AREU launched findings of one of its recent research papers; “The Afghan Parliament: Constitutional Mandate Versus Practice in the Post 2001 Context” in a high-profile meeting at the Serena Hotel in Kabul.

High-ranking government officials, speakers of both houses of parliament, legislators, representatives of national and international organizations, diplomats and civil societyinfo-icon members, academia and the media attended the meeting on the launch of the paper funded by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP).

The paper briefly highlighted the history of the parliament in Afghanistan and said the adoption of a new constitution in 2001 created a powerful bicameral parliament that embraced more mechanisms of checks and balance than before.

“The 2004 Constitution was drafted in a way to grant the parliament significant legislative and political oversight powers, and those who drafted it, expected that an elected parliament would be one of the most important foundations in achieving a representative democracy in war shattered Afghanistan,” the paper said.

It was further believed that such a parliament would be much more effective in overseeing the executive branch.

The paper also highlighted practices over the past 13 years that showed the parliament had performed less than what might have been expected in 2004.

According to the paper, an ill-suited electoral system coupled with systematic government interference, lack of accountability by members of the parliament and personality-based politics have created an undisciplined, fragmented and uncoordinated parliament.

“Moreover, the parliament has not effectively exercised some of its powers such as the establishment of special investigatory commissions that could improve its institutional capabilities” the paper states.

It adds rather, members of parliament have mostly used powers such as the fight to impeach and remove government ministers as a tool to strengthen their individual, ethnic, religious or regional interests.

Orzala Nemat, AREU Director, said, “This study comes in a timely manner as initial results from the parliamentary elections in 2018 are announced. We expect government leadership, policy makers, and the newly elected parliamentarians to look into the future of parliament’s performance in light of findings and recommendations from this study.”

The paper recommends that a transparent system for electing the members of the IECinfo-icon and enhancing its integrity is needed, while cleaner rules that define the duties and organization of the IEC and the IECC would strengthen these two institutions. 

It further adds that Afghanistan’s most recent parliamentary elections last October revealed yet again the problems with the IEC and IECC and that unless these electoral institutions are reformed, Afghanistan might not be able to hold successful elections in the future.

pr/ma

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