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Is presidential or parliamentary system good in Afghanistan?

By Ezzatullah Mehrdad-The presidential system is experienced along the history of Afghanistan. This system has been accepted by the people.

Recently, some people claim that the presidential system doesn’t effectively work and should change to parliamentary system. In fact, presidential system has proved that it is effective in the country on the ground centralized power and fits the current Afghanistan’s situation.

The parliamentary system can fit Afghanistan if the government overcomes different social and political problems.

For the first time in the history of Afghanistan, presidential system allowed transform of power to the unity government without any crises. Despite the government faces many challenges to be solved. Presidential system has also institutionalized democracy such as freedom of press. There are around 500 media include radio, television, press, weekly and monthly papers.

More important, the presidential system has democratically centralized power in the country for the first time in history of Afghanistan.

The people interested to change presidential system to parliamentary system have not clarified which type of parliamentary system they want. Pure parliamentary or indirect democracy is indeed the government of parliament.

If a party wins parliamentary election, it selects prime minister from the winner party’s members, usually the leader of the party. For instance, federal government of Germany is a parliamentary system. In Germany, the president is symbolic and lacks executive power.

On the other hand, half parliamentary and half presidential system has both the president and prime ministry. Parliament selects prime minister. Russian Federation implements the half parliamentary and half presidential system. Russia holds presidential election and people directly select the president.

The parliamentary system requires at least stable government, implementation of law across the country and high engagement of people in public life. In this situation, parliamentary system will help to make a diverse population that diversity will be strength of the country.

Those who want parliamentary system, claim that Afghanistan is a multi-ethnic country and requires decentralization of power. It is obvious that Afghanistan is a multi-ethnic country, but it doesn’t mean we should decentralize power.

According to John F. Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan’s Reconstruction, it seems that insurgent groups are focusing on one strategy: decentralizing power by fighting in many parts of the country; once in Kunduz, then Farah and then Helmand. If we do not centralize power, we would lose districts one by one. If we lose ground, do we need parliamentary system to handle power to many ethnic groups?

Presidential system by centralizing the power is more effective than parliamentary system to fight insurgents.

In 2014, without the U.S.-led international coalition and presidential system under Hamid Karzia, the government was fighting insurgents more effectively than the current government.

The current system, which is a half parliamentary system with Chief Executive and President Ashraf Ghani cannot operate well on the ground that power is shared between the two.

As we observe, there is not unity in the so-called Afghan Unity government and Mr. Ghani says one thing that is declined by Mr. Abdullah.

Therefore, presidential system has not only proved that it effectively works, but also centralizes power across the country and any attempts to decentralize the power can threaten the unity of Afghanistan. We should not only attempt to change, but try to implement the presidential system for maintaining the unity government.

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