Lawmakers in Afghanistan’s parliament were divided over controversial plan by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) to conduct zone-based elections in Ghazni province.
Emotions ran high in in the Wolesi Jirga on Wednesday session when some MPs from Ghazni opposed the proposed plan by the election commission and described it “oppressive and biased”.
Some MPs claimed that the “discriminatory” plan was fabricated by certain groups in government.
“The plan for zone-based elections in Ghazni is ‘repressive and awful’ and it is unacceptable to the people,” said Arif Rahmani, an MP from Ghazni.
“The law does not recognize any exception. This plan has been outlined by ‘fascist and selfish’ individuals. We will stand by our Hazara people till the end,” said Abdul Latif Pedram, an MP from Badakhshan.
Other MPs meanwhile made remarks in support of the plan.
“You (Abdul Latif Pedram) are belonged to Tajikistan and you have a Tajikistani passport,” claimed Kamal Safai, an MP, in response to Pedram’s remarks.
“What has been decided by the election commission for Ghazni is legal and it should be implemented,” said MP from Nangarhar Aryan Yun.
“No lawmaker in the house can be appointed as a representative from a specific ethnicity,” said MP Sakhi Mashwani.
Some lawmakers made neutral remarks about the plan and the statements by their colleagues on Wednesday session.
“Today, the situation in parliament shows that emotions have taken over wisdom of some of the lawmakers,” said Ramazan Bashardost, an MP from Kabul.
“People feel ‘ashamed’ for having such representatives,” said MP Humayun Amiri.
This comes a day after lawmakers from Ghazni province said the plan by the IEC to conducted zone-based elections in Ghazni is in contradiction to the law and it is “totally biased”.
They said the decision made by the election commission is unacceptable.
Ghazni MPs warned to resist what they described as a “discriminatory act” by the Independent Election Commission.
either ensures security in the province or reduces the size of election constituencies.
The closure of IEC provincial office disrupted the voter registration process. But now the IEC has decided to divide Ghazni into zones ahead of October 20 parliamentary and district councils’ elections.
The IEC is planned to carry out voter registration center in accordance to a new electoral calendar.
Ghazni has 11 seat reservations in Afghanistan’s Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament). But in the past elections, the entire candidates made their way to the parliament from a certain ethnicity after the polling was not conducted in some insecure regions.
IEC however clarifies that all zones have been divided based on the population and geography and a committee will carry on the process.
According to local officials, at least 14 districts in the province face serious security threats and 15 voter registration centers remain closed in the center of the province.
Afghanistan’s parliamentary and district council elections are scheduled for 20 October.