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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More