Electoral Reforms Critical Ahead Of Brussels Summit

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Shah Sultan Akefi, the head of the special commission for electoral reforms said on Thursday that it is critical for government to issue a decree on electoral reforms and establish a new election commission before the Brussels Summit in October.

Akefi said that the national unity government’s commitment to effecting reforms is key for the continued support of the international community and as such government needs to take practical steps in this regard.

He said it is critical that reforms in the electoral system are implemented ahead of the summit and said government must establish a selection committee and that the selection committee must choose a new electoral commission within the next month.

“According to Article 79 of the Constitution, if government issues a new decree and the selection committee starts its work and selects members of a new electoral commission, it means that they have taken some practical steps towards reforms. The new commission will need to specify an election date and approve an election schedule. These are important preliminary steps for holding elections which will be supported by the international community,” said Akefi.

However, organizations supervising the election process have said government is not serious about bringing electoral reforms and holding parliamentary elections. They claim that there are powerful groups inside and outside of government trying to prevent reforms from being carried out.

Jandad Spenghar, chief of election network ACSEN said: “If government does not bring necessary reforms to the system, if government does not make fundamental changes in the election commissions, and if government does not bring acceptable figures to the commissions; it is impossible to have the support of the international community, civil society and Afghan people by having just an amendment in the election system.”

Meanwhile, a number of former government officials have blasted the NUG for not fulfilling their commitments over the past two years.

“National unity government has not done anything over the past 23 months. The 23 months is the history of promises which has not been done. It is the main concern of the people. The legitimacy of the NUG will be questioned. These issues are serious and have raised concerns,” said Dadfar Rangin Spanta, the former national security council advisor.

Electoral reforms and parliamentary and districts council elections are the main commitments mentioned in the NUG agreement, but political analysts believe that leaders have not fulfilled their promises to the people.

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