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Selection Committee meeting fails to happen

Selection Committee meeting fails to happen

Nov 28, 2017 - 20:00

KABUL (Pajhwok): The presidential decree reviving the Selection Committee’s work has not been enforced so far at a time when experts say the dismissal of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) head has no legal justification.

President Ashraf Ghani on November 15 dismissed IEC head Najibullah Ahmadzai by issuing a decree.

But experts, referring to the Article 16 of the Election Law, believe Ahmadzai’s removal has no legal basis.

The article says: “A member of the Commission can be terminated in following circumstances: producing fake  educational documents, deprivation of civil rights, contempt of court, conviction for committing crimes or felony, having membership of a political party and breaching provisions of the Constitution of Afghanistan and some other violations.”

After the removal of Ahmadzai, the president ordered the revival of the Selection Committee’s work to nominate members for vacant posts of commissioners on the electoral body.

The call for the committee’s work is based on Article 13 of the Election Law regarding the structure of the Selection Committee. New members could not be picket from the list of the earlier selected members.

Experts termed the presidential order for the selection of new members of the IEC as against the law. They say when there are candidates in the list picked by the selection committee in the past, the president should pick someone from them in such circumstances.

Clause 3rd of Article 16 says : “In case of resignation, termination or death of one or more members of the Commission, the President shall appoint new member (s) from amongst the remaining nominees stipulated in clause (2) of the Article (14) of this law; with due consideration of the ethnic and gender composition.”

The presidential decree regarding revival of the selection committee’s work has yet to be enforced.

The first meeting of the Selection Committee was expected to take place Monday by the Administrative Affairs Department of the Presidential Palace, but Mari Akrami, who is part of the committee, said: “Unfortunately our meeting did not take place.”

Yousuf Rashid, another member of the committee and representative of election watchdogs, said: “Members from Supreme Court Qazi Javed and Rashadi and Mari went to the meeting, two other members are atrip and I missed it deliberately because of some legal objections on the process. I represent election watchdogs and need their confidence to go and attend the meeting of the committee.”

Hadi Bashardost, head of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) Human Resources Department, said Zia Langar, who represented the commission in the Selection Committee, had gone to Thailand to attend a multinational conference.

According to reliable sources, Abdullah Shifahi, who represents the Independent Oversight Commission on Implementation of the Constitution (IOCIC) at the selection committee, was also on a trip to India.

Naeem Ayubzada, head of the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA), said the presidential decree was a temporary assignment and the job of all members had finished.

He said membership of the Selection Committee had no legal justification because it was formed for a temporary assignment.

He added the members of the selection committee had acknowledged that the removal of Ahmadzai was against the law and thus they did not appear for the meeting.