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IEC calls president’s decrees for electoral reforms illegal

By Akhtar M. Nikzad-KABUL: The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Wednesday said the government’s decrees in the electoral reforms are “illegal”, asking the president to stop issuing such orders.

President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah had agreed to bring some reforms and amendments in the electoral commissions after the formation of the National Unity Government in 2014. The reforms include replacement of the electoral officials.

The IEC chief Yousuf Nooristani said in a press conference that president’s decrees would harm electoral system.

“These [decrees] will postpone parliamentary and provincial districts council elections,” Nooristani said.

Earlier the parliament had rejected president’s reform decrees in the electoral commissions.

“The council of ministers is discussing amendments through adjustment of both Structural Law (SL) and Electoral Law (EL) of the commissions to pave the ground for dismissal of current commissioners,” Nooristani said.

He underlined that based on Article 14(2) of Structural Law and the Electoral Law, the electoral commissions are authorized to demand the government for amendments in the laws.

“The amendment has been absolutely prepared by the government which is a political and illegal act and would not bring reforms,” he acknowledged.

The IEC has announced October 18th as date of parliamentary and district council elections, but Abdullah stresses on fundamental reforms in the IEC, saying that the elections should be managed by the new commissioners.

The IEC chief claimed that no governmental organs can remove the electoral commissioners from their positions. “Illegal sack of commissioners is not the real reform and the government should seek sensitive ways.”

He highlighted that political differences between government and the parliament with the aim to bring electoral reforms have postponed commission’s plans. “The government has not showed readiness for providing budget.”

Nooristani said that the UNMA also makes endeavors to bring reforms in the electoral commissions.

“We expect the UNAMA to discuss with the electoral commissions and the reforms body about the reforms,” Nooristani said.

Political analysts believe that people are neither confident to government to bring actual reforms in the electoral system nor on the electoral commissions.

“The NUG is the result of fraudulence election which was imposed by the IEC on the nation,” said political analyst Dawlat Shah, adding that people do not trust the government and the IEC commissioners to ensure transparency in the elections.

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