The head of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), Yusuf Nuristani, on Wednesday welcomed MPs decision to reject President Ashraf Ghani’s legislative decrees on the amendment of electoral laws, and said the Electoral Commissions Selection Committee’s activities are not legal.
“The Selection Committee has been established based on a political agreement. We believe that the Wolesi Jirga [Lower House of Parliament] has paid respect to the country’s law [by rejecting the decrees],” Nuristani said at a press conference.
He added: “I hope that the president does not issue any decree anymore that faces such a fate. We also hope that the Selection Committee stops its work.”
In reaction to Nuristani’s remarks, the deputy chief of the Selection Committee, Fahim Dashti said: “The organization [IEC} has lost its credibility and trust among the people and now they come and say that the Selection Committee’s activities are illegal.”
The IEC meanwhile said they are ready to hold parliamentary and district council elections and that they will announce an election timeline next week.
“We had no idea that the government leaders [Ghani and Abdullah] will try to take us out of the scene. We have been assigned here for the next six years – based on the law,” he said.
“The law will be violated and disrespected if the [government] leaders want to sack the IEC members. I do not think they will do this,” he added.
According to article 109 of the Constitution, proposals for amending election laws shall not be included in the work agenda of the National Assembly during the last year of the legislative term.
In addition, based on the law, the president can reissue the decrees with new arguments within 15 days to parliament.
Meanwhile, the deputy head of the Electoral Reforms Commission (ERC), Sediqullah Tawhidi, said the political agreement of the National Unity Government (NUG) will be violated if reforms are not brought to the electoral bodies.
“The current election commissioners should realize that the NUG political agreement will be violated if reforms are not brought to the electoral bodies and the election system itself,” he said.
The 2014 presidential election was the longest election in the country which ended up in a win-win situation between the two leading candidates – the current President Ashraf Ghani and the Executive Chief Abdullah Abdullah.