Mohammad Khan, first deputy of CEO Abdullah Abdullah, said Sunday that although the National Unity Government (NUG) leaders were close to reaching an agreement over the electoral reform commission, discordance between the two was still something holding up the process.
Khan, however, hoped the much-awaited commission would start its work soon.
“As far as I know, the president and CEO have not reached an agreement on one thing only – the head of the commission. But the discussions are in the final stage, and there is hope for the commission to start work soon,” Khan said.
The Special Electoral Reform Commission – considered a desperate need by Afghans after last year’s presidential election deadlock – was expected to formally start its work last week. But the division between the NUG leaders is said to be the main reason for the delay.
But election monitoring groups warned that any further delay in finalizing the commission would result in losing opportunities and would also result in losing the public’s trust in the elections.
“Disagreement over commission members cannot stop the commission to begin its work. I think the disagreement between the NUG leaders is on how to reform the system. Because they are both concerned that if reforms take place, they might lose their influence in the electoral commissions,” said Jandad Spinghar, head of Afghanistan’s Civil Society Elections Network (ACSEN).
“The President and CEO are trying each to create the elections based on their own demands, so that they can have a part in the future parliamentary and district council elections,” Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) Programs Director Naeem Ashghari said, accusing the NUG leaders of trying to use the commission for their own personal interests.