Afghanistan’s Electoral Reform Commission (ERC) is expected to submit the findings of its recent survey and recommendations on election process reforms to President Ashraf Ghani in the very near future.
The findings are of a survey conducted over the past few weeks and the recommendations are based on suggestions by the people regarding the implementation of inclusive reforms needed in the nation’s electoral system.
Delivering a speech to a gathering attended by a number of lawyers on Thursday, the ERC chairman Shah Sultan Akifi announced that the ERC has conducted a survey in at least seven zones of the country in order to gather information from people on issues pertinent to the implementation of comprehensive reforms to Afghanistan’s election management bodies and to the electoral system.
About 1,500 people were interviewed for the survey.
Legal experts at today’s gathering focused on a number of important topics on electoral reforms such as loopholes in the actual electoral law act, the lack of clarity on issues relating to electoral fraud and the lack of information on electoral crimes.
ERC representatives have over the past few weeks ramped up efforts to evaluate and study the problems Afghanistan faced during last year’s controversial presidential race.
As part of the survey conducted, ERC members travelled to a number of provinces to speak to people in their bid to prevent electoral fraud and voter rigging in future polls.
“We have not been able to travel to all provinces of Afghanistan due to limited time, but we managed to travel to seven zones of the country where we interviewed almost 1,500 citizens and recorded their recommendations and ideas,” Akifi said.
Some participants present at the event expressed concerns that if the government fails to rebuild public trust on the credibility of the elections, democracy in Afghanistan will be adversely affected.
Electoral experts however called on ERC members to inform the public if government tries to interfere in their work.
“In article 7 of the election law it states that if the official or commissioners of the election commission commits a violation, they must be fired from the job. But what needs to be clarified is what administration or body would investigate the case and who would fire them from the job. This has been one of the major reasons for the controversial elections in the country, the election commission officials who were guilty of fraud are still working,” deputy head of Afghanistan Lawyers Association Gul Ahmad Madadzai said.
“I can guarantee you that the election law doesn’t have any problem. You must assess how to prevent the fraud. When we come and amend the law during the last working year of the parliamentarians, this is a clear violation of the constitution, because with this, we change the executive body to legislative body,” law expert Kabir Ranjbar said.
The ERC members have stressed that the legislative order is an authority lying only with the president of the country.