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SERC drafts suggestions on electoral reforms

Abdul Zuhoor Qayomi-KABUL: The Special Electoral Reforms Commission (SERC) has drafted comments, proposals and suggestions submitted by different segments of the society.

To bring reforms in the electoral system, the commission has approached election observers, civil society groups, political parties, tribal elders, religious scholars, and national and international experts. The commission drafted 300 pages suggestions.

Chief of the SERC, Shah Sultan Aakifi, in a press conference on Saturday said the 300 pages proposals have been arranged after meetings and discussions with 200 civil society members.

The suggestions were gathered through two technical committees of the reforms commission.

“The suggestions were collected from provincial councils’ members, representatives of 50 political parties, tribal elders, observers, Ulema, national and international experts in a meeting last Thursday in the capital city,” he elaborated.

According to the schedule, the technical committee of the reforms commission will hold technical discussions with several civil society members in the provinces which will take a week as the SERC has already ran out of time, added Aakifi.

He said that “useful” suggestions would be taken seriously to bring reforms in the electoral system and hold transparent elections in future.

Aakifi further said that international partners are interested in holding transparent elections. He said that in meetings with representatives of the United Nations and the United States’ President the reforms commission came to know that they are interested in supporting the Afghan government to bring reforms and hold free and fair polls in the future.

Responding to a question, the chief of the reforms commission termed international support important for bringing reforms in the electoral system, adding that the representatives of the international community are ready to facilitate Kabul and provide required technical and logistical assistance for electoral reforms.

He said the commission is trying hard to complete the assigned tasks within a month.

The SERC’s deputy chief, Seddiqullah Tawhedi, said the suggestions and proposals were mostly about voting and electoral sights, sacking of the commissioners of the electoral commissions.

The deputy special representative of Secretary General of the United Nations, Yammato Tadamichi, lauded the SERC and said the UN and other international partners are committed not only to support electoral affaires, but entire democratic process in Afghanistan. The UN would provide required supports to the SERC, he said.

The SERC kicked off work on July 22, to bring necessary reforms in the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) aimed at rebuilding public trust over the country’s electoral system.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah officially inaugurated the reforms body and urged all 14 members of the Special Electoral Reform Commission to work honestly and safeguard the national interests.

Abdullah said that reforms in the electoral system are need of the hour because people are expecting transparent parliamentary election.

He said that in the past 13 years, the presidential elections in Afghanistan proved that the electoral bodies need reforms to nurture democracy in the country.

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