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Watchdog concerned at inordinate delay in elections

Watchdog concerned at inordinate delay in elections

Jan 30, 2016 - 16:58

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): An election watchdog said on Saturday the process of reforms had been stymied by the Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon’s rejection of the presidential decrees cleaning up the electoral system.

The deadlock hasspawned multiple challenges to the conduct of future parliamentary elections and hanged as a big question mark over the national unity government’s legitimacy.

Bringing fundamental reforms to the country’s election system was one of the pledgesheld out by leaders of the unity government. But no reforms have been introduced despite the passage of 18 months.

Yousuf Rashid, executive director of Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistaninfo-icon (FEFA), said: “It looks like both leaders of government are not serious about reforming the system.”

The process they had pledged to be completed quickly has been the victim of an inordinate delay, according to Rashid, who told Pajhwok Afghan News political tensions and lack of interest had created a stalemate.

He suggested President Ashraf Ghan should pay proper attention to resolving the issue as the parliament had risen for its winter recess.

MehsudTarashwal, spokesman for the Afghanistan Protection and Stability Council (APSC), asked the government to arrange a Loya Jirgainfo-icon to approvethe power-sharing formula before the expiry of the deadline in September.

He promised the APSC would play an active role in the future elections and would not allow the democratic exercise to happen before the necessary reforms were brought to the system.

Earlier, the Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon) had announced the schedule for parliamentary and district council elections. The panel says it is ready to conduct the election on October 15, 2016.

It has promised mistakes of the 2014 presidential vote would not be repeated. The coming polls would be fully transparent, the commission chairman assured, claiming the panel had learnt a lot from past experiences.

But the Chief Executive Office said the schedule for parliamentary and district council elections would be announced by new commissioners and the current timetable was unacceptable.

Javed Faisal, deputy spokesman for the CE Office, said the date announced by the IEC had no justification because the government and people wanted the electoral regime to be reformed before new elections.



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