The Independent Election Commission’s (IEC) financial and administrative deputy head Mazaaullah Dawlati on Monday said government is not responding to the commission’s official letters regarding the outline of electoral constituencies.
Dawlati said the commission drafted an outline to decrease the size of constituencies and sent this to the presidential palace 10 months ago, and that it has sent subsequent letters, but government has so far not responded to them.
According to Dawlati, based on the law, the cabinet should have approved or rejected the commission’s outlines – which are based on the population of provinces and the number of representatives each province has in parliament.
“Currently the constituency issue has turned from a technical issue to a political issue. We suggested the constituencies and explained the criteria. Those provinces which have one to five seats will be changed to a single constituency, except for the women’s share,” said Dawlati.
Dawlati said if the presidential palace does not respond to their outline, the upcoming parliamentary and district council elections will be carried out as they were in the past.
“We sent many letters and emphasized the issue of constituencies at meetings, but so far the fate of this issue remains unclear,” Dawlati said.
The outline for decreasing the sizes of constituencies has been met with mixed reaction. Some people and analysts have welcomed the move, while others are opposed to it.
“The constituency (outline) is a good move, but we do not have specific data of the country's population. It is good to work on this issue, but it cannot be implemented in the upcoming elections, but will work for future elections,” former IEC chief Fazl Ahmad Manavi said.
“It is strange that elections have been scheduled, but constituencies are not clear,” Habibullah Shinwari, a member of Election Watch Afghanistan said.
The election commission has scheduled parliamentary and district council elections for July 7 of this year, but said government should respond to the commission about the constituency proposal at least six months before elections.