The government on Sunday rejected a plan proposed by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) to reduce the number of election consistencies, saying the legal period to implement such a plan has expired.
The government rejected the plan arguing that its legal time had expired while the IEC had dispatched the plan to government a year ago, IEC officials said.
Meanwhile, office of Chief Executive Office (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah has said that government has informed the IEC that the legal time for implementing the plan has expired and that the IEC may take each province as a single constituency.
“Because of the shortage of time, the government has recommended the commission take each province as a single constituency like in the past and with this the election process will move on at a good pace,” said Jawed Faisal, deputy CEO spokesman.
The plan to reduce the number of electoral constituencies has been one of the hot topics between government and the IEC recently.
Based on the existing plan, candidates may file nomination papers on a provincial level.
But, its been a month since residents in Ghazni called for election constituencies to be reduced. The issue has led to the closure of the IEC office in the province.
But IEC officials in Kabul are preparing to send a delegation to Ghazni to resolve the issue.
“A delegation from the election commission is expected to travel to Ghazni tomorrow (Monday) and discuss the issue with those protesting the matter and the government officials. We hope that a solution is find to the issue,” said Sayed Hafiz Hashimi, IEC commissioner
But, what are the benefits of less constituencies?
“This creates an imposed will, for instance, a voter on this side of the province wants to cast his ballot to a candidate on the other side of the province, with this, we actually impose sanctions on his will and limit his will,” said Ghulam Hussain Naseri.
If the plan to reduce electoral constituencies is implemented, all provinces would have been divided into constituencies on the basis of the population they have.
Last week the election observers and political commentators had warned the IEC and the government against decreasing the number of electoral constituencies ahead of the October elections, saying such a move will have negative consequences on the credibility and legitimacy of the upcoming elections in the country.
They alleged that some circles within government are making attempts to impose the plan on the IEC to reduce the number of electoral constituencies or dividing the provinces into several electoral constituencies.
Based on the election law, the government should have announced its decision 180 days before the elections on whether to hold the elections with a constituency-based method or the previous method. But election observers and monitoring groups have accused government of making deliberate attempts to impose its plan on the election commission.
While the controversy over the vacant posts in the IEC gathers fresh momentum, the election management body says that it has sent three names to the presidential palace to pick one to be designated as head of the IEC’s secretariat.
Meanwhile, election observers and monitoring groups have asked government to pick a qualified nominee to lead the IEC secretariat.
Those picked as candidates for the post include Jawed Habibi, former deputy head of IEC secretariat, Khalid Fahim, head of Swedish committee program for Afghanistan and Abdul Baseer Azimi, former deputy minister of water and energy.
According to the IEC, since the start of the voter registration process, over 2.2 million people have registered across the country.
However election materials have not reached to least 38 districts.
According to the IEC, 330 centers have failed to open in various regions of the country due to security threats.