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Editorial: Electoral picture

Parliamentary and district councils’ polls have been pushed back by the government as the unity government leaders wanted to inject heavy dose of reforms in the ailing electoral bodies—Independent Election Commission and Independent Electoral Complaints Commission. People from all walks of life want to see electoral reforms taking place, but without delay in the parliamentary or district councils’ elections. The unbearable delay in the polls is a setback and blow to the nascent democracy. The delay shows incompetency of the government to promote democracy by upholding democratic values such as polls on time. Absence of a legitimate parliament questions credibility of the current system. Jurists and political science scholars have not yet defined that whether Afghanistan has a democratic system or a regime.

Delay in polls is a direct violation of the constitution. Members of the Wolesi Jirga have completed their term but yet they are approving the laws and presidential decrees. Public opinion was not respected in the 2014 presidential elections. Electorates hoped that they would see news faces in the parliament this year. However, their hopes were dashed to the ground. All of this is result of the snail paced decision making process and too much red tapism in the halls of power.

For some approval of the electoral law by the president is good news in this fog of uncertainty and disappointments.  The deputy presidential spokesman Shah Hussain Murtazawi made the announcement on Saturday, saying the law will be published within a week in the government gazette. The deputy spokesman also claimed that the deadlock between President Ghani and CEO Abdullah on the electoral reforms process is over. The selection committee has been instructed to select new members for the two electoral bodies. After the announcement, the voters seemed to be more optimistic. However, the worst is not gone yet.

The way the announcement was made has raised eyebrows. Such an important announcement by a deputy spokesman shows lack of the leaders’ will to explain matters of public interests to the nation. It also shows inattention of the leaders towards promotion of democratic values which builds public trust. As it was a major cause of rift between the two leaders, therefore, a joint press conference would have rebuilt public confidence on the unity government. Since it did not happen, thus, it also leaves room for suspicions and questions such as: Will the president and chief executive show consensus on appointments of new members of the election commissions? Will the government stick to the polls’ timeline that was announced by the president? However, one thing is clear at this point that the electoral picture is still incomplete.

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