A day after 17 presidential candidates voted for new election commissioners, some former officials of the election commissions said many of the new faces lack the required experience to manage the upcoming elections.
Electoral monitoring organizations raised the same issue, saying that a merit-based appointment process should be implemented for selection of the new members of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC).
The new faces are:
• Esmatullah Mal, 36, who got nine votes out of 17 is from Balkh province. He has a master’s degree in law.
• Mawlana Mohammad Abdullah, 36, who got nine votes, is from Panjsher province. He has a bachelor’s degree in law from Kabul University.
• Qasim Elyasi, 48, who got eight votes, is from Ghazni province. He has a Ph.D. in philology.
• Musafir Qoqandi, 36, who got eight votes, is from Faryab province and has a bachelor’s degree in social sciences.
• Mohammad Yunus Toghra, 42, who got eight votes, is from Faryab province. He has a master’s degree in administration.
• Chaman Shah Etimadi, 46, who got eight votes, is from Ghazni province and has a bachelor’s degree in religious sciences.
• Habib Rahman Nang, 44, who got eight votes, is from Laghman province, is a physician.
• Aurwang Zeb, 39, who got eight votes, is from Paktia province, has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture.
• Hawa Alam Nursitani, 46, who got eight votes, is from Nuristan province. She has a bachelor’s degree in law.
• Geti, 42, who got seven votes, is from Kapisa province and has a bachelor’s degree in law.
• Zuhra Bayan is from Parwan province and has a bachelor’s degree in law.
• Zakir Zaki, 43, who got seven votes is from Samangan province. He has a master’s degree in agriculture.
• Qutbuddin Roidad, 39, who got seven votes, is from Paktia province and has a bachelor’s degree in religious sciences.
• Hanif Daishyar, 35, who got seven votes, is from Ghazni province. He has a bachelor’s degree in sociology.
• Najibullah Kamawal, 35, who got six votes, is from Nangarhar province. He has a master’s degree in public health.
• Din Mohammad Azimi, 44, who got six votes, is from Ghor province. He has a master’s degree in criminology.
According to sources, the education documents of some of the individuals have not been approved by the Ministry of Higher Education.
President Ashraf Ghani is expected to announce the new commissioners and heads of the secretariat of the IEC and IECC within the next 24 hours.
Former head of the IEC, Najibullah Ahmadzai, said few numbers of those who got the highest votes have knowledge about elections.
“Three or four of them are professional individuals and have knowledge about elections but others are unprofessional individuals and I think that the next elections cannot be held with such commissioners,” he told TOLOnews.
“We are concerned about going back to the scenario of the previous parliamentary elections if the new faces actually lack the required experience on elections,” said Marwa Amini, spokesperson for Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan.
The voting was held at the Presidential Palace on Friday.
“The individuals for whom the presidential candidates voted are among the trusted individuals,” said Lal Gul Lal, member of Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan.
The Afghan government has described the voting as a transparent process.
“The voting was held in a transparent and reliable environment,” the Second Vice President Sarwar Danish said at a ceremony in Kabul on Saturday. “This is a sign of hope and shows respect to democracy.”
From the 18 presidential candidates, one of them did participate in the voting process for new election commissioners.
“The people of Afghanistan are asking why the parliamentary elections votes were not invalidated while they were invalid. I will not vote for new commissioners until the parliamentary votes are not invalidated,” said Noorullah Jalili, a presidential candidate.
Some residents of different provinces said those who are appointed as new commissioners should try to restore public trust in the electoral process.
“Commissioners should not violate the rights of the people,” said Hashmatullah, a Balkh resident.
“They should not compromise on national issues,” said Shirbaz, a Kabul resident.
The new election commissioners are expected to address the irregularities in the October 20 parliamentary elections after they are appointed to the posts.