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AGO prosecutes electoral commissioners after travel ban, dismissals

AT News Report

KABUL: After travel ban and firings, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) on Wednesday launched an investigation into allegations that the Independent Election Commission and a separate complaints commission misused their authority during last year’s Wolesi Jirga elections.

In a statement, AGO said all the 12 members of the two election commissions were removed from their posts following amendment of the election law.

To bring a fundamental reform in electoral bodies, President Ashraf Ghani approved the amendment as a result IEC Chief Abdul Badi Sayyad and Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) Head Aziz Azizullah Aryayee were dismissed from their powers.

Discussions and consultations over the draft amendment started earlier this month and was unanimously endorsed by all groups – before being approved by Ghani’s cabinet on Tuesday. 

Now, two secretariat heads, Ahmad Shah Zamanzai from the IEC, and Mohammad Setigh, from the IECC secretariat are in charge of the commissions.

President Ghani has given politicians and civil society members one week to nominate new election commission members.

It is worth mentioning that October parliamentary elections were marred by chaos, and earned many eye-brows as the IEC’s failed to deliver on its promises of having fair, and free elections, and the full results have yet to be announced.

Afghanistan who is nascent in democracy is going to have another round of presidential election in July, which is one of the key pillars of democracy to be exercised.  But at the same time talks with the Taliban group is underway that likely have raised the issue of interim-government with the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, as they don’t want election at the moment.

Khalizad said he did not discuss over perspective of interim-government in all round of talks with the Taliban, and the Afghan government who had been sidelined in the all process of talks, had time and again rejected the idea.

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