Premature commencement of electoral campaigns and its impacts on the performance of parliament
FEFA held a meeting with the representatives of civil society organizations, MPs and experts on May 14, 2018, to discuss impinges of the premature electoral campaigns on the performance of parliament. After the announcement of electoral calendar by Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan for the parliamentary and district council elections, a number of MPs went to their provinces to begin the premature campaign. Thereby, the Wolesi Jirga and its standings commissions faced lack of quorum completion to hold their sessions or make a decision regarding the drafted laws or bills. It is believed that candidates will strengthen their campaigns after the commencement of the candidates’ registration process and campaign period. On the other hand, we can’t deprive people of the right to run for elective seats and campaign for this purpose. Prematurely commencement of the electoral campaigns and the constituency’s visits by the MPs for the campaign purpose has negatively impacted performance of the parliament throughout the 15th legislative sessions. Therefore, FEFA invited MPs, senators, university lecturers, experts and representatives of the civil society organizations to discuss the impacts of premature commencement of electoral campaigns on the performance of parliament and find conceivable ways for reducing these impacts. An analysis of the forthcoming elections: At the beginning of the meeting, Mr. Mohammad Farid Afghanzai, senior technical advisor of FEFA, presented information about the electoral calendar for the forthcoming parliamentary and district council elections and outlined the shortcomings of the announced calendar as follows: 1. In contradiction with the provisions of law, the calendar has considered complaints period on the voters' list, after the list is published. 2. Given the calendar, the candidates’ registration process begins on May 26 and continues until June 12, 2018. However, voters’ registration process begins in the districts 10 days before commencement of the candidates’ registration process. Therefore, the candidates won’t have adequate time to prepare the list of supporters of their candidacy.
. Members of Parliament . Civil society organizations . Experts
Discussion on premature commencement of electoral campaigns and its impacts on the performance of parliament in existence of parliament members.
The meeting participants talked about the importance of conducting elections and stating that there is no alternative for elections. They believed that MPs consecutive absentee from parliamentary sessions will finally result in dismissal of parliament which will negatively impact on performance and dignity of parliament as the house of the people. Similarly, organizing and attending electoral campaigns is the legal right and duty of every citizen but the IEC and parliament haven’t been able to develop a practical mechanism on the management of electoral campaigns to make sure the MPs do their jobs properly as members of parliament and enjoy the right of organizing and attending campaigns simultaneously. Seven options for management of electoral campaigns and forestalling negative impacts of MPs campaigns on the performance of parliament were recommended in this meeting. Consideration and implementation of one or more than one of the above-mentioned options depend on the managerial ability of IEC, the commitment of MPS and role of watchdog organizations. Consideration and implementation of mentioned options do not require legal inference and interpretation of the law.
3. Allocation of only 2 days for recording complaints on the preliminary list of candidates but recording complaints on the list within 2 days is not possible. Paragraph 2 of article 74 of the law on the election has considered 2 weeks for recording complaints on the voters' list. 4. There is a 2-month time interval between the announcement of candidates’ finale list and commencement of electoral campaigns. Experiences of previous elections preventing and containing prematurely campaign are very hard. It is necessary to revise the date for the announcement of candidates’ finale list to prevent time interval between the announcement of the list and commencement of electoral campaigns. 5. The list of polling centers is finalized on June 23, 2018 (4 months before the polling day). Given the status quo and security situation, it is better to change this date to September 23, 2018. 6. The law on the election state that the media committee shall be established at least one month before the commencement of candidates’ registration process. However, the electoral calendar has considered April 26 for the establishment of the Media Committee. The date which has been ignored by the IEC. Violating the electoral calendar result in distrust on the election process. 7. The duration of recording complains about voting and vote counting is one month (October 20 to November 20, 2018). However, paragraphs 2, 3, 4 and 5 of article 91 of the law on the election state that the duration of recording complaints on voting and vote counting is 35 days. 8. The duration of recording complaints on the preliminary results of the parliamentary election is 2 days and for the district council election is 3 days. Given the status quo and security situation in Afghanistan, there is a need for reviewing and revising this duration.
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