The IEC is adamant that there is not enough time to roll out reforms ahead of the October elections.
Parties Threaten More Protests In Absence Of Electoral Reforms
Supporters of a number of political parties and political movements on Wednesday staged a demonstration in two areas of Kabul to press the Afghan political leadership and the election commission to meet their demands regarding the election process.
The protestors criticized the Presidential Palace for its reluctance to create a joint commission of government and the political parties to undertake some basic changes in the election system and warned that they will expand their civil protests unless government and the Independent Election Commission (IEC) meets their demands for reforms in the election system.
However the Presidential Palace (ARG) so far has not reacted to the move, but the election commission has hit out over the demands by the political parties – especially that involve a biometric system on election day.
The IEC argues however that there is not enough time to roll out reforms ahead of the October elections.
The protests were organized by Afghanistan’s mainstream political parties including Jamiat-e-Islami party of Afghanistan, Hizb-e-Islami, Junbish-i-Milli Islami Afghanistan, Hizb-e-Wahdat and the Grand National Coalition of Afghanistan.
“The independent election commission is a puppet commission, it is a slave commission, in fact this commission is aimed to impose and dictate certain elements on the determination of the nation,” said a member of the Grand National Coalition of Afghanistan, Mohammad Essa Rahimi.
“Packs of fake stickers have been distributed and this will push the country towards a crisis,” said one protestor Siyar Shah Walizadah.
On Wednesday, all roads connecting the center of the city to Hamid Karzai International Airport had been closed by protestors.
“The political parties expects that the joint commission starts its work very soon to discuss the demands of the parties and the elections,” said a member of Hizb-e-Islami Humayoun Jarir.
“These parties have their own candidates in the parliamentary elections, they fear that their sons are being deprived, therefore they are creating such issues,” said one opposing MP, over Wednesday’s protest, Mawla Mohammad Paiman.
But, the election commission has rejected any kind of wrongdoing.
“Both the political parties and we (IEC) want transparency and the people of Afghanistan also want this, over 2,500 people have filed nomination papers, it is not acceptable that a few people stand and obstruct another 2,500 candidates,” said IEC commissioner Sayed Hafiz Hashemi.
At a recent meeting with the representatives of the political parties, President Ashraf Ghani pledged that a joint commission must be established to study the demands of the political parties and issues around elections. But the IEC says that such a plan harms the timeline of the elections and that it is not practical at this stage.