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Electoral reforms on urgent basis required

To the dismay of the nation, the second round of the presidential election last year gave birth to a dangerous political crisis which was averted by forming the National Unity Government. Though, the crisis was averted but it has its own implication as the two leaders are every now and then locked in an undeclared state of war. The cabinet couldn’t be formed in time. Governors couldn’t be appointed in time. Parliamentary elections couldn’t be held in time. And the formation of the Special Commission on Electoral Reforms was hit by politics yet after its formation the body performed well. This Special Commission has collected 1500 suggestions in meetings with election observers, representatives of political parties, lawmakers, provincial council members, local and international legal experts, and tribal elders. All the suggestions have been drafted for the purpose to be submitted to President Ashraf Ghani. The president would call a team of experts for technical debate over bringing reforms in the country’s electoral system. As performance of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) remained poor in the 2009 and 2014 presidential polls, therefore, need for a broad range reforms to overhaul the electoral bodies was felt seriously. In such a situation when there are crises all around, the special reforms commission did perform well and it can potentially re-raise the hopes and confidence of the voters in the political setup, but given that the top leaders now take the suggestions seriously.

The comments and the proposals that are against the Constitution should not get any regard, but suggestions that could stand the two commissions on strong foundation should take due consideration.

The nation is desperate to see the IEC and IECC overhauled and the future elections held in a fair and free environment. No gap should be left open for extra-constitutional actions. The coming parliamentary polls would be a litmus test for the government. If the parliamentary elections are hit by controversies it would mean that the government was just throwing dust into the eyes of the public rather than reforming the electoral system.

Therefore, the government should not give space to the opportunists rather it must do what is best for democracy, the country and the nation because this unfortunate nation has been the worst victim of extremism and militancy for decades. Though, the war has been imposed on us from outside our frontiers, but yes if we want we could carve out a new road amid challenges but given that there is a dedicated, shrewd and an honest leadership at home. With unity and solidarity we stand triumphant while divisions kill us. Looking at the challenges we have faced with, there must not be any lack of commitment or letup on the part of the government, but unfortunately, the ruling elites’ thinking cannot go beyond their personal gains. And this is the reason the National Unity Government couldn’t perform well during the past few months. Though expectations were higher but performance remains very low. Besides those who are sitting in the government, even those who think themselves to be standing somewhere on the fringes of the political setup are blameworthy including the citizens as every individual is a political person in democracy where their say or silence make a huge difference. A politically divided society and voters make a divided government. We need to bring unity and integration in the society after that we can expect a stable government.

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