All commissioners from the two electoral commissions – the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) – were dismissed from their posts, including the two chiefs, after President Ashraf Ghani signed off on an amendment to the electoral law.
Ghani approved the amendment on Tuesday, which resulted in the instant dismissal of the commissioners – including IEC chief Abdul Badi Sayyad and IECC Aziz Azizullah Aryayee.
Discussions and consultations over the draft amendment started earlier this month and was unanimously endorsed by all groups – before being approved by Ghani’s cabinet.
According to the Presidential Palace, the two secretariat heads, Ahmad Shah Zamanzai from the IEC, and Mohammad Setigh, from the IECC secretariat, will run the commissions.
The election law has 109 articles and 17 chapters and according to sources, a number of these articles have been amended.
The commissioners – 12 in total - were appointed to the posts in November 2016 as part of government’s efforts to ensure transparent and fair parliamentary elections.
However, the elections – held in October – were allegedly riddled with fraud and mismanagement.
This move comes amid ongoing criticism leveled at the commissioners who have still not released the final results for October’s elections for 15 provinces.
Meanwhile, consultations on the amendments to the election law have been brought ahead of the scheduled July presidential elections.
Ghani’s chief advisor Fazel Fazly said on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon confirmed this latest development and said the aim is to guarantee the transparency of the electoral system.
“President @ashrafghani signed a legislative decree on the amendment of the electoral law in the cabinet meeting today,” Fazly tweeted.
He said the draft amendment, which had already been discussed with all presidential candidates, political parties, and election observer groups, was agreed to and endorsed unanimously by these groups before making its way to the cabinet meeting.
“The measure is meant to guarantee the transparency of our electoral system, ensure public confidence in our institutions, as well as achieve the necessary reforms based on the lessons learned from the recent parliamentary elections,” he said.