For urgent release/ January 18, 2016
FEFA deplore the announcement of electoral timeline (upcoming parliamentary & district council elections) without electoral reform and coordination with the government and donors. FEFA consider this proceeding of the Independent Election Commission unfit and confusing which negatively impacts public trust on electoral bodies.
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced the date of upcoming parliamentary & district council elections today in a press conference. Article 43 of the law on election states that the Election Commission shall announce the Election date at least 180 days before the Election Day hence the Independent Election Commission announced October 15, 2016 election day. However, the electoral reform process is not over and the necessary reforms for ensuring the transparency and intactness of the upcoming elections hasn’t taken place. The unilateral action of commission increases concerns over electoral reform process and make the government oppose the commission but on the other hand this opportunity can pave the ground for acceleration of electoral reform process. howbeit, article 156 of constitution ensure the working independency of the Independent Election Commission but given the first paragraph of article 3 of the Law on the Structure, Duties and Authorities of Electoral Commission states that the electoral commissions are established and work within the framework of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and perform their duties in coordination with the government.
Convening election requires the elaboration of national (government and non-government) and international institutions. If, the national and international institutions do not support and cooperate in convening election, this process will lack national and international credibility. According to paragraph 17 of article 14 of the law on the Structure, Duties and Authorities of Electoral Commissions, the commission shall prepare and devise its budget in consultation with the government, and is independent in its spending notwithstanding the 1393 fiscal budget hasn’t allocated budget for operational expenses of election therefore, the government has to gain financial and technical assistance from international community but the contradictions between government and election commissions challenge this efforts.
The consequences of such unilateral proceedings will further adulterate public opinion and increase distrust over electoral reform process. FEFA urge the National Unity Government to undertake a specific stance over the electoral reform process and implement the electoral reform proposals as soon as possible. Likewise, FEFA urged the government to devolve the case of rejection of presidential decree to Supreme Court to put an end to the ambiguities over the work of Selection Committee.
The circumstances of Afghanistan is very susceptible and the electoral reform process is a big test before the National Unity Government. Likewise, the financial and technical assistance of international community to electoral process depends on state well on electoral reform process.