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Aug 15, 2017
Some IEC commissioners marginalised: FEFA

Aug 14, 2017 - 16:30

KABUL (Pajhwok): The Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) on Monday said some quarters were out to prevent civil society institutes from watching the poll panel and some commissioners were being sidelined in the decision-making process.

Yousuf Rashid, executive chief of FEFE, addressing a session on People’s Widespread Participation and Credible Elections, alleged some figures in the Independent Election Commission (IEC) were trying to discourage civil society interaction with the panel.

He did not provide information about the individuals, but said FEFA had requested for credentials to supervise the IEC performance about two months ago, but failed to obtain permission. That was why FEFA was unable to oversee the IEC’s review of polling stations.

More than two months after the announcement of the election date, the IEC was yet to prepare the poll calendar, he said. The commission has announced holding Wolesi Jirga and district council elections on July 7, 2018.

Rashid insisted announcement of election calendar was important for political parties, civil society institutes and all people to make preparation for the upcoming democratic execrcise.

Some figures had launched illegal election campaigns, but the commission had not yet prepared any procedure, he said, without giving details. He asked the IEC to launch the voters registration process using technology so all eligible people could obtain voter cards.

Insecurity is a major challenge to the smooth conduct of elections, which could be cancelled because of chaos, Rashid warned.

The IEC shared a plan for minimising electoral districts with the government about six months ago, but the authorities have yet to take a decision on it, according to the FEFA executive chief.

Mohammad Farid Afghanzai, another senior member of FEFA, accused the IEC of failing to take steps so far for building public trust and provincial offices of the commission were still inactive.

He asked the government not to interfere in IEC’s internal issues. The official believed such moves would also pave the ground for meddling from others.

Meanwhile, IEC Commissioner Maliha Hassan, who was also present at the event, confirmed the commission members were being sidelined and the decisions were made by only two or three members outside the election body. But she did not provide details.

She said steps had been taken toward structural and administrative reforms of the commission. As many as 1,000 officers were employed for reviewing polling stations.

The voter list of would be prepared in October, with the commission waiting for the purchase of needed materials and technology, she added. An agreement was signed between the IEC and relevant institutions on maintaining election security.


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