The Independent Electoral Complaints Commission of Afghanistan (IECC) on Monday announced that it has finalized the appointment of IECC commissioners for the provinces, bringing an end to the long delay in the process.
President Ashraf Ghani has appointed 102 nominees for all vacant posts in the provinces.
The newly appointed commissioners are expected to go to their respective provinces on Tuesday after completing a day's training in Kabul.
“We will not tolerate any kind of weakness in your decisions and you must remember that it (elections) belongs to the future of the people of Afghanistan,” said Azizullah Aryayee, chairman of the IECC.
This new development comes after sharp criticism has been leveled against both the Afghan government and the IECC by members of the public, election watchdogs and political parties over constant delays in the issue of appointing provincial commissioners.
But the IECC has argued that the selection process and scrutiny of candidates took time and had been the key reason for the delay.
“Fortunately, all documents have been completed and finally it was approved by the presidential palace,” said IECC spokesman Ali Reza Rouhani.
Based on IECC statistics, up to now, over 800 complaints have been lodged against electoral candidates.
The assessment of some of the complaints has already been wrapped up and a final decision has been made in some cases, said the IECC.
The IECC is scheduled to finalize its assessment process of complaints filed against candidates by August 2.
Ties with illegal armed groups
The IECC said last week a committee has been tasked to investigate reports of links between some candidates and illegal armed groups.
According to the IECC, the committee will also investigate some candidates even though they have not had complaints lodged against them.
IECC’s move to disqualify election candidates with links to illegal armed groups has been widely welcomed by the Afghan public, election watchdogs and political parties.
Political parties have also announced their support for the move by the IECC.
In reaction to the IECC’s move against candidates accused of having ties with the illegal armed groups, meanwhile, citizens across Afghanistan have hailed the commission's move to crackdown on candidates who are also accused of crimes and human rights violations.
“These types of people shouldn’t be allowed to participate in the elections,” said a resident of Kabul Mohammad Ishaq.
“If these people again retain power, then there is the possibility that the situation will further deteriorate in Afghanistan in the future,” one resident in Nangarhar province Irfanullah said.
“They must identify and prevent them from running in the elections,” said a resident of northern Balkh province Mahdi.
Abdul Habib is a resident of Baghlan province in northern Afghanistan. He said that his son and his cousin had been killed seven months ago, but no one made an effort to serve justice on the culprits who committed the crime.
According to him, the suspected killer is backed by a candidate nominated for parliamentary elections.
“Both were martyred in a day,” said Abdul Habib.
“We came here (Kabul) because our opponent wants to run for parliament. If he becomes an MP again, he will kill all the people,” said Habib’s wife.
“Those who have allegiance with illegal armed groups or command them or use these illegal individuals, in-fact they are involved in a series of crimes, they will be dropped from the list based on credible documents and evidence,” said IECC spokesman Alir Reza Rouhani.
Meanwhile, rights groups have also urged the implementation of justice on those who are accused of violence and human rights violations.
“We are extremely concerned about this issue. In the past we have seen that there are people in parliament from whom people do not have a good memory, they had been accused or involved in various crimes,” said Lal Gul Lal from Afghanistan Human Rights Organization (AHRO).
The task team is led by the head of the IECC and members of the commission are from the Ministry of Interior (MoI), Ministry of Defense (MoD), National Directorate of Security (NDS) and the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG).