News / Asia

Afghan President Considers Allowing Foreigners on Election Commission

Afghan President Hamid Karzai raised the possibility Saturday that he might appoint foreigners to the country's Electoral Complaints Commission.  Last month, Mr. Karzai issued a decree that gave himself full authority to appoint members of the group, saying he wanted to "Afghanize" it.  The international community had mixed reactions to the decree, with some governments questioning whether the commission could be neutral without outside oversight.  

Karzai spokesman Waheed Omar says there is a possibility that the Afghan president might allow two foreigners on the national Electoral Complaints Commission.

But the spokesman said this is an exception because President Karzai is in the process of a so-called "Afghanization" of the election process.

In February, Mr. Karzai issued a decree that overruled a law allowing the United Nations to appoint three of the five commission members.  Mr. Karzai said he wanted to "Afghanize" the commission by appointing all Afghan nationals.

Susan Manuel is a spokeswoman for the United Nations mission in Afghanistan.  She tells VOA that it is important that the reforms agreed to between the United Nations and Afghan government are carried out for the parliamentary elections later this year. "We retain our commitment to the Afghans that they run their own elections, [and] they run their own country.  There were just certain reforms, including the composition of the ECC , that had been agreed to and it appeared that President Karzai had altered a bit the commitments that he had made," she said.

Some Western diplomats have expressed concern that giving Mr. Karzai total control over the ECC will undermine the fairness of the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Jandad Spinghar is the executive director for the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan.  He tells VOA that the outside appointment of some of the commission's members give it more credibility.

He points particularly to the debate surrounding the country's Independent Election Commission, which oversees the country's election process.  "The existence of the international [community] will be very important otherwise no one will trust the ECC as well like they didn't trust the IEC," he said.

According to the Afghan constitution, the president can appoint all members of the IEC.

During last year's fraud-marred presidential election, there was debate both inside and outside the country over whether the president could have an unfair hold over the IEC.

Spinghar says he agrees with President Karzai's push for Afghanization in the country's institutions, including the ECC.  But he says it is important that this is an open and legitimate process. "The legal framework should [be] used for [the] Afghanization process which can guarantee the independency of the organization and also guarantee the professional action of the organization," he said.

The ECC played a high-profile role in last year's presidential election, when it threw out one-third of the votes cast for Mr. Karzai because they were fraudulent.

This forced a second round of voting, but Afghan authorities cancelled the runoff election when President Karzai's only challenger withdrew from the race, handing Mr. Karzai a second term.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid