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Fair polls impossible sans reforms in electoral commissions: TEFA

KABUL: Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA) on Thursday asked the government for reforms in the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC).

Speaking at a seminar regarding women’s role in future elections and challenges, Chief of TEFA, Muhammad Naeem Ayobzada, said that sans massive-scale reforms in the two electoral commissions no one could expect free and fair polls in the country.

“The government must accelerate the pace of work aimed to bring reforms in the two electoral bodies through Electoral Reform Commission (ERC) which has already been established by the national unity government for bringing reforms,” he said.

Ayobzada said that without reforms the government would lose its credibility. Urging the government to give due share to women in decision-making process, he said that active role of women in electoral reforms procedure is very crucial.

To ensure women’s rights in the future elections are protected the government should increase number of female members in the ERC.

Regarding the upcoming parliamentary elections he said the law enforcement agencies should prepare security plans in order to avoid any untoward incident in the polls for Wolesi Jirga.

Aziz Rafi, a rights activist, said the government has not taken even a single step to ensure that women enjoy due share in the government. “Women’s role in the current government is only symbolic though 38 percent voters were women.”

He said that women’s role in coming elections would not be encouraging unless their economic status was improved and better livelihood opportunities were provided to the “underprivileged folk”.

Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission, Qadria Yazdan Parast, termed rigging in polls a major challenge that could discredit the election. She said that fraudulent polls would dishearten the female voters and women would no more participate in the future elections. (Abdul Zuhoor Qayomi)

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