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ETWA Analytical Viewpoint over IEC’s Draft for Small Electoral Constituencies

December 13, 2017

Under article (35) of the new election law, small electoral constituencies shall be considered for Wolesi Jirga—Lower House elections according to paragraphs three and four of article (83) of the constitution. This verdict created a clear obligation for the Independent Election Commission (IEC). The body following its formal launch on 22/11/2016 has been tasked by the presidential palace to provide a comprehensive draft about small electoral constituencies and voter’s list within three months and deliver the idea with government for feedback. Recently, the IEC has shared its draft for small electoral constituencies with representatives of political parties and civil society to gain their views and recommendations. This draft encompasses three options. First, we would like to give a look first flaws and advantages of small electoral constituencies being pointed out by analysts before the analysis of the IEC draft:
1. Comparing to big electoral constituencies, small electoral constituencies provides a better representation and relationship among voters and their representatives. The accountability level of representatives to their voters increased, but the process is revers in big electoral constituencies.
2. In small electoral constituencies, a fair representation of all ethnic groups of a province as enshrined in article 83 of the Constitution comes into realization. But as it decreases chances of victory of ordinary people against local powerful figures, the representation of middle class of the society in elected-organs, which is very significant for young democracy of Afghanistan, is restricted.
3. In small electoral constituencies, candidate’s electoral campaigns expenses is reduced, while operational expenditure of the election commission may increase.
4. In small electoral constituencies, observational focus of monitors of candidates and political parties is more, but it has nothing to do with the observational focus of impartial institutions and free media outlets. ETWA is an independent, non political, neutral election observation organization. ETWA gave an analysis to the IEC draft for small electoral constituencies in the light of three accepted.

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