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Political parties insist for change in Afghan electoral system

AT-KABUL: Some political parties have demanded the Afghan parliament’s electoral system be changed to a proportional system.

In a protest gathering held Monday in front of the independent election commission building, representatives from around 20 political parties including the Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan and Hezb-e-Wahdat-e-Islami Afghanistan had attended and asked the government to change the electoral system.

The government says it was late to change the electoral system as the legislative and district council election was set to be launched in October. The Afghan electoral system is now based on the non-transferable single vote.

Assadullah Saadati, representative of the Hezb-e-Wahdat-e-Islami Afghanistan, called the existing electoral system failed. “If the government and the election commission meets the demands of political parties that are the rightful demands of the people of Afghanistan, we are going to have better elections than we had in the past. We will have an effective parliament and an efficient government,” said Saadati, who called the existing electoral system an element of corruption in the parliament and personal decisions of the lawmakers.

He emphasized that the government should have a logical behavior with the political parties’ demands and not to make excuse for limited time. “We had demanded many years ago, but it was rejected.”

Saadati said that government’s opposition to further role of the political parties as opposition to the bases of democracy.

“If the government runs election with this form, its result will be failure and the beginning of another crisis. We express our severe concerns and ask the election commission, the government and international community to accept our logical schemes,” said Bashir Ahmad Tah Yench, representative of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan.

Mohammad Nader Hassas, representative of the Afghan Mellat Party, also asked the government to not remain careless with the political parties’ demands, otherwise, the protests would continue and would be expanded.

But, Wasima Badghisi, a member of the election commission, said that the parties’ demand had a legal problem as the electoral law has made the electoral system and the commission was not allowed to change it.

Political parties’ more role on monitoring of election, holding timely election and providing parallel sources in the election were other demands of the parties.

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