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The Challenging Tasks of Election Commissioners

Feature: The Challenging Tasks of Election Commissioners

Since their inception, the election commissions in Afghanistan, like many other failed institutions, have caused a crisis in the country. Since 2004, we do not remember any election in the country that has been free of fraud and misconduct. This issue emerged in the last presidential election and turned into a full-blown political crisis, a crisis that could have pushed Afghanistan into a bloody post-election conflict.
The holding of the recent parliamentary election was another example of the appalling record of the election commission, which can not be called anything but a shame. By holding such an election, members of the electoral commissions showed that the political institutions in Afghanistan were amateur, inferior, and ineffective. Nearly five months have passed since the parliamentary elections, but the final list of winners has not been announced.
The most painful thing is that nobody tells the voters why the commission has been taken hostage by the results of the 1397 parliamentary elections; what are the reasons for the delay and what will be the final decision on the fate of the votes. After the widespread protests of political parties, civil society and the people, the government was forced to annul the electoral commission cabinet and discharge their members.
It also amended the electoral law and, on the advice of parties and presidential candidates, also elected new election commissioners.
The new members of the Afghan electoral commissions were officially appointed by the Afghan president yesterday.
Mohammad Ashraf Ghani issued four decrees on this issue and wrote: Seyyed Esmatullah Mel, Maulana Muhammad Abdullah, Orang Zeb and Mohammad Hanif Danishyar, each for five years, and Musafir Qoqandi, Hawa Alam Nuristani and Rahimi Zarifi, each for three years, were appointed as Independent Election Commission members.
According to another decree of the Afghan President, Mohammad Qasem Eliasi, Zohrah Bayan Shinwari and Maolavi Din Mohammad Azimi, each for five years, and Mohammad Younus Toghra and Sayyid Qutbuddin, each for three years, were appointed as members of the Electoral Complaints Commission.
Under the decree of Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, new members of the Afghan election commissions can elect their chairman, deputy and secretary of election commissions and start their work according to the law.
Another of the four presidential decrees stated that Habibul Rahman Nang was appointed head of the secretariat of the Independent Election Commission and Chamanshah Etemadi as head of the Secretariat of the Electoral Complaints Commission.
Now, the most important responsibility of the new commissioners of the election commissions is to act in accordance with the law and regulations. Moreover, providing the necessary grounds for holding healthy elections, as well as protecting safeguarding the people’s mandate is a key responsibility of the supervisors and organizers of the elections. The main issue to maintain the election’s health is to adhere to the electoral commission’s impartiality and law enforcement. Legislature, expertise and efficiency, trusteeship, accountability and ethics are the main characteristics of election observers, and election officials should be able to protect the rights of the people as much as possible.
Maintaining trust is the most important task of the organizers of the elections. People have trusted the election holders, and the election commission should not break that trust. Moreover, it should not be influenced by government institution or authority.
Election commissions should take the principle of fairness and impartiality. Observance of the principle of neutrality and maintaining the independence of these two institutions can guarantee the institutionalization of long-term democracy in Afghanistan.
According to the Afghan legal system, the election administration has been handed over to IEC. In addition to the IEC, the IECC is the commission’s counterpart to deal with disputes and complaints in the electoral process.
The new commissioners of the electoral commissions must prove that they have the necessary capacity and management capabilities to hold the presidential election, which simultaneously holds four other elections.
Presidential elections, provincial councils, district councils and the parliamentary elections in Ghazni, all of which are scheduled to take place in one place, are politically sensitive. Political and social polarization is evident in the presidential election. Political parties emphasize the weaknesses of their rivals, and there is a kind of polarization in society, political and factional sensitivities increase, and these sensitivities are based on ethnicity. That is why the presidential election is very sensitive. The relevant authorities must, therefore, should be very responsible. The new commissioners of the electoral commissions should win the trust of the people and prove to the people that they can effectively and efficiently safeguard the votes the people.
Given the difficulties that have arisen in the parliamentary elections and given the little time available for the presidential, provincial councils and district councils, new commissioners should carry out their duties with determination to witness a fair and transparent election, and must not bow to authority.
(Sahar News)

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