Following months of delays, the Selection Committee (SC) members for the election commissions on Thursday managed to convene their first preliminary meeting aimed at discussing their working program going forward.
The selection committee is assigned the task to scrutinize at least 36 nominees for the election commissions on the basis of their qualifications and experience and recommend their names to government.
While many push for the immediate start of work on the part of the selection committee, the reform commission along with election supervising bodies have asked the committee to pursue honesty and professionalism in the process, suggesting the distrust that currently exists around the process be removed.
The seven member committee said that the first step is to select a chairman for the commission and then decide on the working procedures so that proper foundations are laid for them to select members for the election commissions.
“We are determined to consider knowledge, transparent background and experience while selecting members of the election commissions,” SC member Zarqa Yaftali said.
The Electoral Reform Commission (ERC) has said that bringing about reforms in Afghanistan’s election management bodies is critical to restoring trust over elections, institutionalizing democracy and maintaining political stability in the country.
“They [selection committee] must make sure the implementation of the reform package is recommended. We strongly value the start of their work, government must continue supporting the process to help the selection committee complete its work within a month so that new commissioners can start their jobs soon,” ERC member Farooq Bashir said.
While concerns remain high over the possible meddling of government officials in the work of the selection committee, election monitoring bodies have called on the selection committee to not be influenced by outside interference.
“We hope that the committee works transparently and with neutrality so that trust is restored on the election process. The commission must not allow individuals to influence them, because this would once again harm the process.”
The selection committee was due to start work at least a month ago but was delayed after a number of civil society institutions opposed the introduction of three members of civil society representatives in the selection committee.