Electoral Commissioners Call Dismissal and Electoral Law Amendment Actions “Unlawful” & Politically Motivated, Seek Legal & Judicial Review

A joint statement was released by the commissioners of the electoral commissions on Wednesday which stated that the recent dismissal of members of the bodies is “unlawful”.

The statement included a detailed explanation of why the said action is unlawful. It starts by referring to Article 109 of the Afghan Constitution, which does not allow the amendment of the electoral law in the last year of the legislative period of the parliament because its content may be manipulated for the benefit of certain groups, the modification of the electoral law based on the decree of the president who is also a presidential candidate at the same time, is in contradiction with the constitution.

Additionally, the statement cited article 16 of the Electoral Law, which is now effective for the cases of dismissal of commissioners and claims that as per this article, the dismissal of commission members by issuing a decree by the president and presidential candidate, while their candidacy are under the review of the commissions, is contrary to the above.

With respect to the approval of electoral amendment law by the Afghan cabinet, the former commissioners expressed that “if all presidential candidates, including the president and chief executive, have agreed to amend the electoral law in a number of sessions, question here is that at this time, are the presidential candidates legally qualified to amend the electoral law in the uncompleted process of the Wolesi Jirga and the presidential elections?”

Both members of the electoral commissions believe that the issuance of a presidential decree on the dismissal of electoral commission members at this time is a political decision, not legal.

“The government is pursuing its move to postpone the presidential elections and continue to hold power. The nation of Afghanistan should be aware that, in this case, the presidential election will not be held on the assigned date”, the statement adds.

The commissioners believe that this action is sabotaging the Wolesi Jirga election process. It was also pointed out that perhaps the current leadership was not pleased with the election results and that’s why proceeded to lead the process into chaos.

The statement also warned that political motives that influence such amendments weaken the enforcement of constitutional provisions, thus eroding the faith of Afghan people.

The statement additionally addressed the problems and inadequacies in the Wolesi Jirga election process and clarified that these are due to non-fulfillment of obligations and lack of timely cooperation of the government and other electoral partners.

The statement concedes with the commissioners asking all legal bodies, including the Independent Commission for Overseeing the Implementation of the Constitution, to carefully review the recent decrees and share the points which do not comply with the constitution and other laws that apply with the nation.

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