ETWA Optimism & Concerns over Changes in (IEC)
The Election and Transparency Watch Organization of Afghanistan (ETWA) embraces the President’s moves toward electoral reforms, it also voices concerns over the recent changes that were made within the Independent Election Commission (IEC) without regard to an accurate and comprehensive assessment.
ETWA assessed the recent decision of the President to dismiss the IEC’s Chief Electoral Officer in light of electoral principles and highlight the below instances:
1. Such a decision is an indication of political will to give priority to Elections, which could lead to optimism in public with regard to electoral reform countrywide.
2. Whereas the independence of the IEC is recognized in article (156) of the Constitution, it is not exclusive to commissioner’s board; it also covers the Secretariat of the Commission. Therefore, the proposal for the dismissal of the IEC’s Chief Electoral Officer should be made by the Board of Commissioners in accordance with article (23) of the new Election Law.
3. Under articles (11) and (21) of the Election Law, the Chief Electoral Officer and three of the commissioners, including the Chairperson enjoy similar executive powers and responsibilities in the Secretariat affairs. Thus, any charges of corruption and shortcoming should include other commissioners responsible in this regard.
ETWA suggests any government’s decision in relation to Election Management Bodies should take place in light of electoral principles and adherence to the independence of IEC to maximize optimism to electoral reforms and minimize concerns about the state’s meddling in election affairs.