After the international community announced the cut of their assistance to the electoral commissions, the officials at the Independent Election Commission (IEC) set a one-month deadline for their staff in central and provincial offices to do their clearance with the commission. As a result of this decision, the IEC staff protested calling the commissioners responsible for the situation and asking them to step down
FEFA and the people of Afghanistan are seriously worried about the situation. The Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan (FEFA) believes that as part a major of electoral reform process, there is need for reforms in electoral commissions. Additionally, FEFA also expressed serious concern over a number of professional and technical staff losing the electoral commissions. Over the last ten years, large amounts of money have been spent building technical and professional capacity of these staff. Thus, immediate dismissal of these technical staff is a big gap, which is difficult to be filled shortly.
Considering the situation and the concerns of Afghans, civil society and the members of parliament, FEFA present the following recommendations to the National Unity Government and the International Community:
• FEFA urges that the National Unity Government to fulfill the commitments it made on electoral reform process. The Electoral Reform Commission should start its work as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the current ambiguous status of electoral reform has increased concern of public as well as the international community on future of democracy and election in Afghanistan.
• Likewise, FEFA urges the government to immediately discuss the issue with the international community to convince it to continue supporting to the electoral commissions.
• Besides starting electoral reform process, the government must specify its decision on holding of upcoming parliamentary election as soon as possible. The immediate starting of Electoral Reform Commission work and specifying the date of parliamentary election are two major issues expected by people of Afghanistan and international community.
• While FEFA appreciates both financial and technical assistance of international community to the electoral commissions, it is urging for continuation of their assistance to the fledgling democracy of Afghanistan. Strengthening of democracy and democratic institutions in Afghanistan is a joint mission of the government of Afghanistan, and the international community. The cut of financial and technical assistance to electoral commissions that are the fundamental bodies for survival of election and democracy is a big rollback damaging the democratic and electoral achievements of people of Afghanistan.
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