The Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan (IEC) has said that the incumbent members of the High Peace Council (HPC) who have filed nomination papers to run in the upcoming parliamentary elections must leave their current posts.
If the HPC members used the facilities and privileges of the peace council for their election activities, their names will be dropped from the list of candidates, said the IEC.
But the HPC argues that the peace body is not a government institution and that their members should not have to resign from their posts if they run in the elections.
Noor Rahman, Shahzadah Shahid and Mohammad Akbari are among the HPC members whose names have been included in the final list of parliamentary candidates.
“They are members of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, but it does not mean that they are part of the government. If they were part of government, then they would have their own system, they would have their attendance and salaries. But they are paid only for their transport and credit cards,” said Sayed Ehssan Tahiri, HPC spokesman.
“What is the spirit of the law? Why should a person resign from his post? Because the status he has will be used and you (HPC members) have also got your reputation,” said IEC chief Abdul Badi Sayyad.
According to legal experts, those who are running in the elections must leave their government posts and stop using its privileges for election activities.
“A civil service employee is an employee who is appointed under the framework of Afghanistan’s civil services law, no matter if he is a honorary, voluntary or a payroll employee,” said legal expert Farzaee.
But election observers have blamed the election commission for the controversy, saying there are probably dozens of other candidates who are still taking advantage of government resources directly or indirectly.