Monitoring Campaign Finance in the 2010 Wolesi Jirga Elections
The Controversy: Upon recommendation from the Supreme Court and approval of the President, a special elections court was formed on December 15, 2010 to investigate issues after the Wolesi Jirga elections. The Court’s members consisted of five Supreme Court justices and 10 administrative personnel. In its first press conference on December 20, 2010, the chairperson of the Court called it a special court and said it was a legal entity based on Article 32 of the Law on the Organization and Jurisdiction of Courts. The formation of the Court elicited varying reactions. The members of the Wolesi Jirga called the formation of the elections court against the Constitution and electoral laws, while the objecting candidates welcomed its establishment. Keeping in view the preservation of the integrity of the electoral system in the country, the Free and Fair Elections Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) expressed its deep concerns in a press release on December 16, 2010. FEFA called any form of interference or decision from the judiciary about the election’s process and results as contravening the law and electoral guidelines, asserting that the legal authority to investigate electoral concerns and announce election results lies only with electoral bodies. FEFA asserted its position through active participation in television and radio panels in the national and international media and called on the judicial organs to respect the country’s electoral system. Immediately after the Special Court began its work on January 14, 2011, the Supreme Court, through letter no. 108 dated January 18, 2011, requested a number of offices to send representatives to participate in the work of the Special Court and strengthen its functions. Recipients of this letter included the electoral institutions (IEC and ECC provincial offices), FEFA, the provincial governor’s offices, the Ulema Council, the Directorates of the Provincial Councils, the directorates of pilgrimage and endowment, directorates of Education, the provincial Police Chief’s offices, National Directorate of Security, the Appeal Prosecution offices, provincial Justice directorates, the AIHRC, UNAMA, and the Provincial Appeal Courts. In an official letter dated December 23, 2010, FEFA declined to join the group because of the nature of the group’s work, but expressed its willingness to participate in an exchange of ideas on solving the crisis.
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