Officials from the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) announced Monday that the two election management bodies have started the necessary work to bring about fundamental reforms in the election process.
The IEC will prepare the voter list and voting centers, of which there are almost 7,000, will be changed, said IEC chief Najibullah Ahmadzai.
Head of the IECC Abdul Aziz Aryayee said his organization is also making efforts to identify the vulnerabilities of the election institutions.
Meanwhile, Anwarul-e-Haq Ahadi, chairman of New National Front Party of Afghanistan, has accused government of paving the ground for fraud in the next elections.
He said that the process of reforms within the electoral commissions has not been carried out in a transparent manner, alleging that government did not value the views of politicians and civil society institutions in the reform process.
But the new IEC and IECC officials on Monday held their second news conference where they pledged to bring about systematic reforms in the voters list and in changing the location of nearly 7,000 polling centers which were established during the 2014 presidential elections.
“Our plan in the initial stage is to prepare the voter list, the list of those eligible to vote, this would mean that next elections will be conducted in a free and transparent manner,” said Ahmadzai.
The IECC officials also committed to outline more coherent strategies aimed at curbing fraud and vote-rigging in elections.
“Initially we will start our assessment to identify the vulnerabilities of the commission and to find what type of election fraud, rigging and violations are threatening the commission; then we will take action according to the law,” said Aryayee.
Referring to the appointment of former IEC and IECC commissioners as advisors to the president, critics slammed the move as politically motivated bribery by government.
“We believe that government has grabbed the right of the national assembly for the legislation. The national assembly should swiftly reject the legislative decree on the electoral reforms,” said Ahadi.
Following an electoral impasse in 2014, the present government under President Ashraf Ghani and his CEO Abdullah Abdullah pledged to implement systematic reforms in Afghanistan’s election institutions, but the two leaders met their commitment only after two years.
Former officials of the IEC and IECC had been accused of vote-rigging in the 2014 polls.