The National Unity Government leaders are working on amendment of the election law to bring changes in election commissions’ formation and provide the ground for further reforms in the electoral bodies, an advisor to Second Vice President, Mohammad Hedayat, said.
Hedayat said President Ashraf Ghani will issue a legislative decree in the near future to approve the outline for amendment of election law.
The amendments, the official said, will include changes in leadership of the election commissions as well as procedures of the electoral bodies.
“Reforms include all these sections. Changes will happen in employees of the commissions, structure of the commissions and the elections rules and procedures,” said Hedayat.
The issue around amendment of election law was raised by President Ghani as he addressed a gathering of almost 2,500 people in Kabul on Jan. 30, where he said he wants the presidential elections results to be announced through a transparent process within two days of votes being cast.
Ghani said that the “people no longer trust the election commissions and that widespread reforms are required in the electoral bodies.” He said the election law will be amended – to facilitate further reforms in the commissions.
The election commissions were sharply criticized by elections observers and members of the public as well as candidates for allegedcorruption, poor management and fraud following the parliamentary elections in October.
Sources from government said most of the members of elections commissions who are accused of corruption have been banned from travelling outside the country by President Ghani.
The Independent Election Commission (IEC), meanwhile, said members of the electoral body have been appointed based on the law and that dismissing them without any legal reason “is not an appropriate move”.
“Appointment and dismissal of the commissioners has been defined by the law and the law should be implemented. Making such moveswithout any legal base will be never be acceptable to anyone,” said Sayed Hafizullah Hashemi, an election commissioner.
Other electoral body, the Independent Electoral Complaint Commission (IECC), welcomed reforms but said amendment of election law is not suitable in the current situation.
“The election system has its own specific concept and it depends on whether the law should allow its amendment. Basically, the amendment of the election law in the current situation is not ‘logical’,” the IECC spokesman Ali Reza Rouhani said.
This comes as a number of protesting candidates from Badakhshan, Sar-e-Pul and Kunar on Saturday gathered in front of the IECC office in Kabul and accused members of the elections commission of fraud and corruption.
The candidates said the results of the elections in their provinces have been manipulated by the commissions.
They urged government to hear their voices; otherwise, they will use “any option” to achieve their rights.