FEFA Parliament Inauguration Welcome, But Must not Become a Victory for Impunity

Kabul, January 26, 2011 – The Free and Fair Election Foundation welcomed the inauguration of parliament Wednesday, following the resolution of a months-long standoff between the electoral institutions and the presidential palace.

“We welcome this outcome, which reaffirms the constitutional separation of powers and the checks and balances that are fundamental to any democratic state,” said FEFA chairman Nader Nadery. “Now, the new parliament must serve the people of Afghanistan honestly, transparently and in a manner that respects the great risks voters took on Election Day.
It is also important that investigations into serious election crimes continue through the proper legal channels.” Wednesday’s inauguration seemed uncertain just days before. The post-election political crisis gained momentum last week when the president announced that the already long-delayed inauguration of the parliament would be postponed until February 22 to give a special election dispute court more time to investigate complaints by losing candidates from the 2010 elections.
In response, more than 200 of the 249 parliamentarians-elect banded together and vowed to open the new legislative session with or without the president’s approval, and to convene in an alternative venue if they were barred access to the assembly chambers. Under Afghanistan’s constitution and electoral law, the special court, a chamber of the High Court created at the behest of the president, has no jurisdiction over electoral disputes. Only the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) has the authority to adjudicate electoral disputes, and criminal cases should be channeled through the criminal justice system.
The president ended the confrontation by announcing that the new parliament would be inaugurated on Wednesday. The ceremony went ahead as scheduled, opening the legislature’s five-year term. During the 2010 parliamentary elections, FEFA’s nearly 7,000 observers recorded hundreds of instances of candidates intimidating rivals and voters, violating election laws, and orchestrating violence. FEFA submitted extensive documentation of many of these cases to the ECC. “Today’s inauguration prevented the escalation of a political crisis, but it should not become a victory for impunity,” Nadery said.
In the wake of this second disputed national election, FEFA has called on the Afghan government and its international partners to immediately begin the process of reforming Afghanistan’s electoral system for future elections.

Establishment of Special Curt for Electoral Irregulairties

Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan is seriously concern on establishment of special court for adjudicating of cases of electoral irregularities. FEFA will carefully examine the courts’ conduct.
While FEFA support independent and non-politically driven measures to end impunity for crimes committed during elections, but it considers any decision and judicial interferences in electoral process and final announcement of the results a clear breach of electoral law.
FEFA once again retreats its position that all electoral irregularities and violations and the certification of the election results is a sole authority and responsibility of electoral institutions and shall remain within their jurisdiction.
FEFA calls on president --as the protector of the constitution—to do all in his power to protect constitutional and electoral law framework of the electoral process in resolving the dispute and ambiguity concerning election violations.
FEFA also calls on Supreme Court to fully observe and respect electoral laws. Thus, their action should not undermine legal and institutional status of the electoral administrations.
During 2010 parliamentary election there have been serious irregularities consequently, Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) raised frauds, electoral violations and law in breaching actions while observing different phases of election process through its preliminary and final reports sending proofs and evidences to IEC and ECC.
Since, starting of election process until the announcement of election final results , FEFA has constantly been observing whole phases of election process expressing its position to public domain within press releases ,analysis and interviews .

FEFA Kabul Candidates Underreported Expenses & Abused state Resources

Kabul, 25 December, 2010– Most Kabul province candidates during this year’s parliamentary election campaigns drastically under-reported their campaign expenditures to the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and many engaged in vote buying and abused state resources, the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) said in a report released on December 16.
FEFA, which monitored the campaigns of 22 candidates in Kabul, found that 62 percent of these candidates reported campaign expenditures smaller than what FEFA observers recorded through parallel expenditure tracking. On average, the difference between the candidates’ reported expenditures and figures monitors calculated through parallel expense tracking was 3,700,000 Afghanis, or approximately $82,155.
For some candidates, the gap between reported and real campaign expenditures was even more dramatic. One candidate FEFA followed throughout the campaign season reported spending 1, 798,00 Afghanis , $39,708, while campaign finance monitors calculated that this candidate spent 11,019,000 Afghanis, $243,352, on banners, posters and billboards alone. He later won a seat in the next parliament.

Postponement of Parliamentary Elections

Considering the importance of adhering to the constitution about date of Wolesi Jirga election, FEFA expresses its concern regarding the announcement of Independent Election Commission (IEC) to postpone Wolesi Jirga election.
But since the purpose of holding elections is to establish elected and democratic institutions, it is, therefore, necessary to make the most of the remaining period to bring required reform and pave the ground for transparent, free and fair elections.
The postponement of the elections provides the IEC, security institutions and donor countries with an opportunity to better reform the administration of election and ensure better security environment.
FEFA is also hopeful that all entities involved in the process, including IEC, Observer organizations, press, security institutions, voters and potential candidates would, by learning from the lessons learnt of elections held on August 20, 2009 and using the opportunity rendered available as a result of the postponement play their role in conducting transparent, free and fair elections.
For more information, please contact below:
Jandad Spinghar
Executive Director, FEFA
Tel: 0799225841

Monday, 25/01/ 2010

FEFA Press statement ( Run off Election)

Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) considers the vote recount and adjudication of electoral complaints process, an important and effective step for building public trust in the elections process in Afghanistan, completed by Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC).
The thorough process in arriving at a more reasonable understanding of the election recently held was done in compliance with the Electoral Laws of Afghanistan, under close observation of many observer groups as well as candidate agents and provides a reasonably solid foundation to restore credibility to elections in Afghanistan.Nader Nadery chairman of FEFA said today “ the audit and the final decision by ECC on nullification of fraud votes and candidates conceding to the decision is an important step forward to build public trust in the future electoral processes in Afghanistan” FEFA appreciates the transparent process of the recount and further wishes to encourage the ECC to ensure that these initial steps and announcements will serve as the basis to identify and pronounce on other administrative irregularities so that the citizen of the country can once again have confidence that their votes actual count and
does make a contribution to democratic institutions and good governance.
FEFA once again commits itself as one of the voices of civil society and the people of Afghanistan to cooperate with all institutions that will ensure that elections are credible, acceptable and expresses the will of the people.

FEFA Board of Directors
Date: 20/10/09

FEFA

Kartee- 4 Hajari Najari Street, Behind Russian Cultural Institute, House#013

Tel:+93-799 -310664

Web site: www.fefa.org.af

    

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