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President Ghani appointed Mrs. Anisa Rasouli as member of Supreme-Court high council through a presidential decree. The women political Rights Advocacy Group welcome this action of National Unity Government and consider it a positive step toward institutionalization of women rights. The Women Political Rights Advocacy Group believe supporting women participation in political structures is a substantive step toward institutionalizing justice and good governance.
Membership of a woman in Supreme-Court high council was a major demand of group shared with presidential candidates prior to 2014 presidential election. At the same time, the presidential candidates had promised to appoint a woman as member of Supreme-Court high council. After the establishment of National Unity Government the Women Political Rights Advocacy Group attempted to pursue its demands on augmenting women participation in political power structure. Additionally, allocating provinces seats, diplomatic agencies, deputies, general directorates, independent commissions and districts to women were another substantive demands of the group. The group urge the government to implement its commitments and increase women portion in all mentioned sectors.
The Women Political Rights Advocacy Group is made up from elite and well-known women including members of parliament, media, civil society organizations, political parties and independent active women. Four years ago, the group established by technical assistance of FEFA to advocate for women political rights and to enhancing women participation in political processes including election. The group has presented specific proposals and recommendations on holding transparent election, strengthening and enhancing women participation in election, resolving women problems in election and supporting women portion in structure of political power, to related institutions.
“Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan (FEFA) considers the candidates’ political agreement on the formation of National Unity Government a step forward and welcomes the announcement of final results of presidential election run-off by the Independent Election Commission that puts an ending to the prolonged process. However FEFA believes latest political outbreaks that denied people the right they must possess in the process could be considered a roll back in democracy and in election process in the country.”
Despite security threats and climatic problems the people of Afghanistan went to the polls twice on April 5th and June 14th, 2014 to experience a peaceful transition of power with their votes for the first time in the history of the country. FEFA observed all stages of the 2014 election process across the country and despite having noticed considerable improvements in the electoral system and structure, it has also observed breach of the laws and rules, violations of procedures
negligence of electoral officials that could lead to destruction of the process and could be considered a big blow to democracy in the country. FEFA urges the candidates to play their significant roles in strengthening and enhancing the credibility of the process by accepting the final results. FEFA considers the political agreement between the two candidates step forward but believes that handling technical issues through political negotiations will not only marginalize people from exercising their political rights but will also harm young democracy in the country.
FEFA urges the electoral commissions to explain runoff results to public and publish the details of votes audit. Latest performance of the commissions have been very disappointing and far from public expectation. FEFA as an observation organization believes that unpleasant lessons were learned from this electoral cycle that should be accurately observed for better election process in future:
• Conduct comprehensive research on the role of election officials in electoral irregularities and crisis by a neutral committee. Prosecute those who were involved in wide scale fraud and those who directly or indirectly caused irregularities in the process.
• Electoral commissions are in serious need of fundamental reforms. FEFA urges the upcoming government to bring necessary changes to the structure of electoral commissions in close consultation with observation institutions based on the lessons learned from this electoral cycle;
• FEFA recommends the upcoming government to amend electoral laws, distribute electronic identification cards, begin utilizing electoral voting machines, determine the borders of districts, prepare the list of voters and change the (SNTV) system in order to diminish electoral problems.
FEFA believes election problems in 2014 presidential and provincial councils election put the country in a critical security and economic situation, but FEFA thanks the people of Afghanistan for their incredible tolerance and for taking part in the process. At the same time FEFA urges the candidates and politicians of Afghanistan to make efforts to respect democratic and electoral values and further strengthen these principles to restore public confidence in the process.
the session chaired by Abdul Raof Ebrahimi head of the lower house, According agenda, the discussion and polling was on Plants protection law and on quarantine, regulation plan and removal of some parts of the procurement law
As a result, with 127 positive votes and 4 negative votes the law was approved by the lower house.
In the second part of agenda, WJ discussed on Procurement & Higher Education law.
The government have asked WJ to refund the above two laws in an official letter, the government insisted that after the correction they will send back these two laws to the WJ for the approval. Finally the lower house put the above laws in to voting, the Procurement Law has been approved to refund with 112 votes in favor and 15 votes against by WJ, as well the Higher Education law has been approved to refund with 107 votes in favor and 20 votes against by WJ.
the session chaired by head of commission Fawzia Kofi, according to the agenda Minister of Women Affairs Miss Delbar Nazari present the first hundred days action plan of their work in five stage & the stage are mentioned in the following columns:
Strengthening and improving the governance;
Security and protection of women's rights;
Preparing the five-year work plan for the Ministry of Women's Affairs;
To coordinate and monitor the implementation of the Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan;
promoting women's rights in the family and society;
At the end meanwhile, Fawzia Kofi head of the commission, appreciating the positive points of their work plan, emphasized on reformation in some parts of it.
Following the agreement of the two presidential candidates, on july 17,2014 the independent Election Commission began the nation wide audit of the votes cased on 14 June 2014 Presidential Runoff Election.
FEFA conducts observation of the process, currently with over 80 observers and has on standby 50 additional observers who would join the process as soon as the IEC reaches to its full capacity of 100 teams of auditing per day.
FEFA’s Observation of the audit process in the past five days show that those involved in the process, especially candidates agents, has limited understanding of the audit process and often they lack necessary information on the audit procedures. This has resulted some times in major disagreements among candidate agents and IEC workers. This has caused serious delays and slowed down the audit Process. Therefore, FEFA recommends the followings for an improved process:
1- The Audit & votes invalidation procedure should be finalized immediately; these procedures must be based on accepted UN and International best practices.
2- For better arrangement of the audit teams, the regulation on role of candidates’ agents that also specifies their number in each auditing table, as well as clarifies role of team leaders of the candidates agents, and the seating arrangement for the candidate agents on auditing table should be stipulated.
The IEC auditing teams expects domestic and international observers to “sign” on auditing form. To avoid blurring the role of candidate agents and observers the procedure must clarify if the observers should sign the audit result forms. FEFA declined to sign those forms so far.
3- To prevent any further ambiguity and in order to avoid misperception, the audit areas must be more organized and should be provide with enough lights. Audit tables should be of the same standard and the teams should be arranged in manageable distance from each other.
4- The United Nation Assistant Mission (UNAMA) shall ensure that these procedures are fully implemented and operationalized, so that the confidence to the process can be restored.
5- To provide the audit teams with further support, it should be ensured that for each five audit teams a technical team (Resource Person) is appointed by the UN and the IEC.
Whereas, the UN is requested by the Afghan government and the candidates of the 14 June runoff elections to assume an extended role other than just advisory.
Therefore, FEFA calls on UN to take further the role of an arbiter on instances where disagreement arises between the Candidate agents, or/and candidate agents and IEC.
6- FEFA once again urges the Independent Election Commission to modify and update the electoral calendar including specifying the audit timeline so it can reflect the recently added elements to the electoral process. The updated electoral calendar shall be made public as soon as possible
7- To prevent delay in the process, FEFA also urges the Campaign/ Candidate teams and their technical groups to observe the process based on the agreement they have made already, and if any dispute emerges over the implementation of the rules and procedures, they should seek advice of IEC officials or UP representatives.
8- In order to increase public awareness confidence on the process, the Afghanistan Radio and Television (RTA), which is a public service entity should provide full and live broadcast of the audit process on daily bases.
9- In order to prevent further miscommunication and misreporting, the Independent Election Commission must conduct regular briefing and orientation to the respected members of media on all audit procedures and outcomes. These orientations and briefings should include detailed introduction to the procedure and information on the audit process.
July 21, 2014: Kabul- Afghanistan