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Govt asked to send decree to Wolesi Jirga for approval

Govt asked to send decree to Wolesi Jirga for approval

Apr 05, 2016 - 17:56

KABUL (Pajhwok): The Meshrano Jirga or Senate asked the government on Tuesday to send the second presidential legislative decree on electoral reforms to the lower house for approval in order to pave the way for parliamentary polls.

Earlier, the Wolesi Jirga, or lower house of parliament, had rejected a previous presidential decree endorsing suggestions of the Electoral Reform Commission (ERC).

President Ashraf Ghani had decreed seven suggestions of the ERC and called for urgent measures to provide legal cover to the proposals aimed at reforming the electoral system.

The proposals include registration of voters, making the election bodies accountable and the presence of two foreigners on the Independent Election Complaints Commission (IECC).

Also, the panel had suggested the reservation of one Wolesi Jirga seat for the Hindu minority and identification and shrinking of constituencies.

Other proposals are distribution of computerised identity cards, 25 percent representation for women on provincial and district councils and invalidation of the current voter cards.

In line with Article 14 of the election law, if there is a need for amendments, the issue should be referred to the Independent Election Commission (IEC)

Senator Gul Ahmad Azimi told the house that the second presidential decree should land in the lower house as soon as possible so that the selection committee could resume its work that came to a halt after the first legislative decree was rejected.

The IEC had earlier set an Oct 15 date for holding the long-delayed parliamentary and district council elections. Former IEC chairman Yousuf Nuristani had said the panel made all technical preparations to conduct the election process on October 15, 2016.

He promised mistakes of the 2014 presidential vote would not be repeated. The coming polls would be fully transparent, he had assured, claiming the panel had learnt a lot from past experience.

Senate Chariman Fazal Hadi Muslimyar, also a member of the selection committee, asked the government to promptly send the second legislative decree to the lower house.

He said the selection committee was scheduled to hold its formal meeting today and details of the meeting would be shared with lawmakers tomorrow.