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Drag IEC’s commissioners to court: CMSJ tells govt

By Akhtar M. Nikzad-KABUL: Commending President Ashraf Ghani’s decision regarding formation of election commissions’ selection committee, the Civic Movement of Social Justice (CMSJ), a cluster of civil society organizations, urged the government to introduce election commissioners to judicial organizations after their dismissal.

President Ashraf Ghani through a decree around two weeks ago ordered formation of the selection committee.

Dismissal of the current commissioners of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) is one of the major demands of people and the fair and free elections supporting bodies for bringing reforms in the IEC. However, electoral commissioners stressed that no one has the authority to fire them from their position.

Speaking at the press conference on Saturday chief of CMSJ, Ahmad Zaki said that all people, including leaders of the National Unity Government (NUG), know that current election commissioners were responsible for frauds in the 2014 presidential elections, thus, they should be fired.

He said that mere dismissal is not enough, but those commissioners accused of involvement in poll rigging should be also dragged into court. “The current election commissioners are accused of involved in poll rigging, thus, they should be introduced to judicial organizations,” he added.

Zaki urged the government to establish the selection committee soon to introduce competent and unbiased individuals as members of the electoral bodies to the president.

He said that if the government wants to rebuild trust of people in the elections system, then it should spare no efforts to bring about required reforms.

The CMSJ in a statement called on government to kick start distribution of electronic identity cards (e-ID cards).

The selection committee would have seven members, comprised of representatives of government organizations and civil society.

However, the IEC commissioners criticized establishment of selection committee and termed it illegal. They warned to resist against formation of the committee.

The selection committee is responsible to introduce 21 individuals as members of the Independent Elections Commission (IEC) and 15 persons as members of the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) to the president. From among these figures, the president would select seven people as commissioners of IEC and five persons as commissioners of IECC.

The new commissioners would announce the date of parliamentary elections after implantation of the reforms, recommended by the Special Election Reforms Commission (SERC).

Earlier, the SERC and the election watchdog organizations had urged the government to form the selection committee without any delay.

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