A review of one and half electoral reform: From Words to Action
The political agreement on structure of NUG has guaranteed implementation of electoral reform. After the second round of 2014 presidential election faced deadlock the two leading campaigns of run-off structured a NUG based on a political agreement. They agreed to reform the electoral system and amend the electoral laws, do census of the population, begin issuance of E-Tazkera, hold Loy-Jirga of amendment of Constitution, and change the political system into parliamentary system through a political agreement. Article 5 of the agreement includes president’s commitment for electoral reform to assure transparency of upcoming elections. The leaders of government promised to establish the SERC to reform the electoral system of Afghanistan before holding the upcoming parliamentary and district council elections. This commission will present its recommendations to chief executive and the chief executive will present it to the cabinet. According to the Constitution, the government must have held the parliamentary and district council elections on March 21, 2015 but due to delay in commencement of electoral reform process, the election date postponed. Subsequently, the IEC announced August 14, 2016 as Election Day but this announcement was made without coordination with government and electoral stakeholders. Therefore, it faced serious national and international objection. After, postponement of election, the National Unity Government extended the working duration of parliament through a legislative decree to prevent parliamentary gap. Scares from repetition of 2014 electoral challenges led the government consider electoral reform more important than election. However, the leaders of NUG had promised to begin the electoral reform program immediately after structure of their government but they didn’t do so. NUG established the Special Electoral Reform Commission (SERC) one and half year after the structure of government. SERC prepared two recommended packages on electoral reform and presented them to government for consideration and implementation.
FEFA (Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan)
• Political parties • Media • Civic organizations
Recommendations to government: 1. The government is recommended to consider election as a democratic process, the substantive principle of democracy, the method of report of one and half year electoral reform: from words to action maintaining national sovereignty and tool of maintaining political stability not a tool of reaching to political power. Similarly, the government is recommended to undertake specific measures for solving the legal deadlock ahead of electoral reform process. 2. According to the political agreement on structure of the National Unity Government the government is oblige to implement the electoral reform hence the government is recommended to implement the electoral reform based on the agreement. 3. The Afghan nation and international community support the electoral reform process hence the government is recommended to use the opportunities and prioritize the electoral reform. Similarly, the government is recommended to prevent intervention of political groups in electoral reform affairs. 4. The government must not overlook the fiddling electoral reform achievements which have been achieved after establishment of SERC. 5. The government is recommended to establish the Selection Committee soon to identify the eligible candidates of membership at the electoral commissions and introduce them to the president for appointment. 6. Maintaining the independency of Selection Committee is the responsibility of government. Therefore, the government is recommended to prevent the intervention of government and nongovernment institutions in affairs of Selection Committee. 7. Commencement of issuance of E-Tazkera is an important. Usage of E-Tazkera instead of voting cards in election can assure transparency of election. Thus, the government is recommended to commence issuance of E-Tazkera soon. Recommendations to National Assembly: 1. Electoral reform is the demand of all citizens. Thus, the members of National Assembly are recommended to undertake the necessary measures toward electoral reform to increase public trust on election. 2. Whereas, according to the recent legislative decree on the Law on the Structure, Duties and Authorities of Electoral Commissions two members of the National Assembly will have the membership of Selection Committee. These two representatives of National Assembly at the Selection Committee is recommended consider national interest and try to maintain transparency at this committee. Recommendations to political parties, CSOs and Media: 1. These institutions must focus on commence of issuance of E-Tazkera, reform of electoral system, free and fair holding of upcoming parliamentary and district council elections and holding of Loy-Jirga of Amendment of Constitution. 2. The mentioned institutions must hold public awareness programs on election to increase public awareness on free and fair election. 3. The political parties, CSOs and media must hold advocacy gatherings and attend media programs to encourage the government for implementation of electoral reform. These gatherings must be held for national interest and bribing reform not for any other proposes. 4. The CSOs must establish coordination networks and participate in electoral reform programs. 5. The political parties are recommended to form opposition for national interest. 6. The CSOs which are working in election field and political parties must give consultation on implementation of electoral reform to government and monitor government’s proceedings on electoral reform. 7. The CSOs, political parties and media organizations can take part in institutionalization of election through holding election of their leading members.
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