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IEC blasts govt interference, unconstitutional demand

IEC blasts govt interference, unconstitutional demand

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Feb 28, 2017 - 09:43

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The deputy head of the Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon) has submitted the names of six more individuals for the post of secretary general to the government, a reliable source said on Tuesday.

Earlier, the government had asked IEC Chairman Najibullah Ahmadzai to recommend six more individuals to the president for the post in addition to the three names already submitted.

Ahmadzai slammed the government demand for the introduction of the additional six persons for the secretary post as a violation of the election law and interference in the commission’s affairs.

According to a well-placed source in the poll panrl, the government then asked Waseema Badghisi, deputy head of the IEC, to introduce six more people, a demanded that she has met.

Badghisi recently introduced Abdul Rahim Daud Rahimi, Mohammad Reza Kateb, Syed Jamaluddin Sahibzada, Khwaja Mohammad Asami, Abdul Aziz Musamim and Ahmad Shah Zamanzai for the slot.

After the IEC announcement of the secretary post, 76 people submitted applications. According to the source, in the first phase, 25 people were picked and in the second phase nine others.

The panel had already introduced Imaminfo-icon Mohammad Warimach, former head of the media commission Ahmadullah Archwal, then public awareness commission chief and Popal Habibi.

Naeem Ayubzada, the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA) head, claimed the recent step of the government and the IEC deputy head’s application for introducing new nominees were both illegal.

He believed the government should have selected one of the three candidates as IEC secretary. “Introducing six other individuals to the Presidential Palace is against Article 22 of the Election Law. If the secretary is selected from the six amongst the new individuals, then the Election Law will be violated.”

He insisted: “This move by the government doesn’t have a legal basis and it will bring under question the independence of IEC as it is direct meddling in the electoral bodies’ functioning and the election process.”

If the government did not stop meddling, the electoral watchdogs would be bound to expose something in this regard and question the continuation and transparency of the election process, he warned.

The deputy head of IEC has so far said nothing in this regard, but Shah Hussain Murtazavi, deputy spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani, said the Presidential Palace had not asked IEC to send a new list of names.

He said IEC members had failed to agree on the first three candidates; hence the issue of selecting a person from amongst them could not be finalised.

Najibullah Ahmadzai, the IEC head, on Sunday warned against interference from the government and politicians. He said such meddling harmed the independence of the commission.

nh/sns/mud

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