The Cooperation Council of Political Parties and Coalitions on Sunday called on government to fire the chairmen of the electoral commissions and all the commissioners because of their allegiance to government which they said would affect their neutrality during elections.
Members of the council said at a gathering in Kabul that all processes relating to the election commissions, including new appointments, the buying of equipment and the signing of contracts with companies should be stopped until fundamental reforms are brought to the commissions and until national consensus on the electoral process has been reached.
The Cooperation Council includes the Coalition to Rescue Afghanistan, Mehwar-e-Mardum-e-Afghanistan, the Council of the Protection and Stability of Afghanistan and a number of other political parties and civil society organizations.
“Heads of the electoral commissions and the commissioners should be fired immediately. And government in consultation with political parties and influential figures should introduce and appoint other eligible people instead of them,” said Massoud Trushtwal, a spokesman for the Council of the Protection and Stability of Afghanistan.
Council members also sharply criticized recent moves that included the failure to bring fundamental reforms in the electoral commissions and the implementation of a new electoral law on the basis of a presidential decree without MPs approval.
“Involving the National Security Council and its personnel in the election affairs is a violation of the law and its stepping on the democratic process,” Trushtwal added.
Members of the council warned that if government does not accept their demands, they will suggest an alternate option – regarding the national unity government – and that they will boycott the next elections.
“We have committed to ensure that the presidential and parliamentary elections will be held transparently and the president and MPs will be elected based on peoples’ votes,” Sediq Patman, a member of the council said.
“If government does not accept the demands of the cooperation council, government cannot hold the elections; we will not let it (be held) in a condition that has such deep influence on the election commissions,” Haroon Muaref, another member of the council said.
The president’s deputy spokesman Shahhussain Murtazawi meanwhile said: “Members of the election commission and electoral complaints commission have been appointed based on the law and in accordance with a specific mechanism and will continue to work. Those figures and parties who criticize the election commission efforts, we want them to share their corrective views with the commission.”
Parliamentary and district council elections are expected to be held next year – however questions have been raised as to whether the July deadline will be met.