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Govt to announce parliamentary polls’ schedule within five days: Wolesi Jirga

Abdul Zuhoor Qayomi-KABUL: The Wolesi Jirga said that the government will announce schedule of the parliamentary elections soon.

Secretary of the Wolesi Jirga, Abdul Rauf Enami, told reports that President Ashraf Ghani during a meeting with lawmakers has recently pledged to announce schedule of the upcoming parliamentary polls within five days.

He added that officials in the Independent Election Commission (IEC) will announce parliamentary polls’ date following a presidential decree.

“The president in a meeting with administrative board of Wolesi Jirga and chiefs of parliamentary committees said that weather and security situation will be taken into consideration in setting schedule of the parliamentary elections,” Enami said.

He added that President Ghani has also agreed to extend Wolesi Jirga’s term based on article 83 of the constitution. “The president has directed the Supreme Court to interoperate the article,” he further said.

In response to query, Enami said that the president vowed to bring reforms in the election system in two phases, long term and short term. “For the time being, President Ghani is committed to only bring short term reforms, because bringing long term reforms requires sufficient time,” he added.

He said that the short term reforms include registration of voters in polling sites in order to attract voters’ trust. “Distribution of electronic ID cards is part of the long term reforms which are going to be adopted till 2019,” Enami quoted President Ghani as saying.

This comes at a time that lawmakers have previously urged the government to distribute electronic ID cards in order to prevent from ragging in the parliamentary polls.

Shukria Barekzai, an MP from Kabul, said that neither the president nor the Supreme Court has the right to extend term of Wolesi Jirga.

Speaker of the Wolesi Jirga, Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi, urged the president to announce schedule of the polls as soon as possible. He stressed that extension of Wolesi Jirga’s term is in accordance with law.

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