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TEFA suggests technical reforms in electoral system

By Akhtar M. Nikzad-Kabul: The Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA) and Election Democracy Committee, a joint committee of civil society activists, on Monday urged the Special Electoral Reforms Commission (SERC) to include their suggestions for improvement of the electoral system.

The civil society activists and office-bearers of the TEFA in a joint press conference appreciated the efforts of the SERC for bringing reforms in the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) and urged the reforms commission to forward their suggestions to the National Unity Government (NUG) leaders.

Chief of TEFA, Naim Ayubzad, said that there is only one option for restoring the IEC’s reputation—Special Electoral Reforms Commission—and if the special commission comes under pressure then people would not trust the democratic system, and would not cast vote in future elections.

He warned that if the reforms commission failed to fulfill its responsibility then people would question its sincerity and credibility. People are concerned over continuation of work of the current commissioners of the IEC. If there was no reform in the formation of the electoral system, people would not participate in the parliamentary election, he said.

He termed dismissal of the current commissioners important for restoration of public trust and asked the government to bring fundamental reforms in the two election commissions.

After efforts for one month to bring reforms in the electoral commissions, the SERC is said to offer its first draft of proposals next week to President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah.

In the last one month the SERC has held different meetings with civil society activists, tribal elders, election observers, legal experts and political parties to take their suggestions for improvement of the electoral system.

According to the electoral laws, the dismissals of commissioners is only possible by adjustment of the law but it is unclear that whether the SERC would offer the proposals for brining fundamental reforms in leadership of the IEC to the NUG leaders  or not.

Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan provided four important suggestions in this regard.

“Invalidate the current polling cards and distribution of new reputable cards for parliamentary and provincial councils’ election. List of all eligible voters shall be provided.  A clear mechanism for employment of the new commissioners shall be devised. Authority of the section committee for election of the commissioners shall be clear,” he said.

The Election Democracy Committee urged the government to focus over their proposals for improvement of the electoral system.

Khalil Raufi, a member of the committee, said that after receiving recommendations from the reforms commission, the government should announce the exact date of the parliamentary and provincial councils’ elections.

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