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Reform body’s task ends with presenting new suggestions

Reform body’s task ends with presenting new suggestions

Dec 21, 2015 - 20:06

KABUL (Pajhwok ): The Electoral Reform Commission (ERC) presented another package of suggestions to the government on Monday, when the first set of its suggestions were rejected by the Wolesi Jirga or lower house of parliament.

The ERC was formed on July 21 in compliance with a presidential decree. The commission has submitted its previous suggestions in 10 articles to the government after a month-long hard work gathering public views from various provinces.

President Ghani has decreed seven of the previous suggestions and called for urgent measures to provide legal cover for the proposals approved.

The decreed articles include the formation of the selection committee, the preparation of voter lists on the basis of electronic identity cards, a review of polling stations, reduction in the number of members of election commissions and increasing the presence of women on provincial and district councils up to 25 percent and others.

The presidential decree calls for amendments to the electoral law and the law on composition and powers of the two electoral bodies.

The remaining three articles of the ERC suggestions include changes in the electoral system, shrinking constituencies and the creation of a transparent committee.

But the Wolesi Jirga on Monday rejected the decreed suggestions. ERC chairman Shah Sultan Akefi told a press conference the commission’s activities came to an end with the submission of the second set of suggestions to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Abdullah Abdullah.

He said the three articles in the first set which had not been approved by the president had been amended and included in the new package.

The mid-term reforms suggested in the new package included refugees’ right to vote, using smart machines in elections,  responding to electoral complains and the establishment of a tribunal to investigate electoral crimes.

The long-term suggestions include amendments to some articles of the electoral law and the national Constitution, a package presented Dr. Abdullah on Monday evening.

However, the deputy head of the commission, Siddiqullah Tawhidi, said instead of the Single Non-Transferable Vote (SNTV) system, they had suggested two systems i.e multi-dimensional representation system (MDRS) and mix system. The medium term suggestions included how to conduct Wolesi Jirga and district council elections, he said.