Suggestions for electoral reforms submitted to govt

KABUL (Pajhwok): A joint working committee of political parties, civil society organisations and media has submitted a set of suggestions for electoral reforms to the unity government.
The joint statement has been prepared by the working committee of more than 100 political parties, civil society and media organisations with the help of Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA).
The suggestion included electoral reforms commission, population survey, distribution of electronic identity cards, convening of Loya Jirga, equipping the elections commission and reforms in the commissions.
Other issues in the statement included close coordination among election commissions, change in voting process and short-term reforms for the upcoming parliamentary elections.
FEFA Chief Nader Naderi said the group taking its historical responsibilities into consideration tried to highlight the concerned issues that needed general or short-term reforms in the statement.
He added the leaders of the unity government pledged complete electoral reforms, but the promises have still not been materialized eight months after the formation of the government.
Electoral reforms were a major point of agreement between President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah which the unity government was formed.
Based on a presidential decree, the electoral reforms panel was formed three months back but it still hasn’t embarked on its work.
The statement titled “basic principles of electoral reform” was signed by leaders of political parties and civil society organisations and was submitted to the representatives of the president and CEO.
Ahmad Zia Masoud, President’s special representative for reforms and good governance addressing the event, said majority of the points mentioned in the statement was acceptable to the government and the statement could make work of electoral reforms commission easier.
Masoud added the independent election commission had a major task of conducting fair elections.
Sayed Hussein Fazel Sancharaki, cultural advisor to the CEO, said without fundamental reforms no elections would take place. He said it was imperative that the electronic identity cards be distributed soon.

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