Editorial

Consensus on electoral reform essential

Elections have become a major factor in the stabilization and democratization of emerging democracies and post-conflict countries. Hundreds of developed countries achieved their economic prosperity and political stability through democratic elections. On the other hand, in emerging democracies and post-conflict societies, it has a great potential risk to plunge a country back into violent conflict, to undermine processes of stabilization and to discredit democratization.
Since establishment of the National Unity Government in 2014, electoral reforms have become a hot issue. People from every walk of life are debating on the nature, scope and timeline of the reforms. The Independent Election Commission (IEC) and Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) proved as corrupt institutes in the previous presidential elections. The two bodies failed to perform their constitutional duties effectively. Industrial-scale rigging in the polls raised many questions on authorities of the election commissioners and effectiveness of the two electoral bodies.
Here the other day, political leaders and presidential candidates discussed amendment to the electoral laws at a meeting in Presidential Palace. Addressing the consultative meeting, President Ghani welcomed the participants and underlined the need for consensus on amending the law.
Meanwhile Vice-President Sarwar Danesh during a meeting with US diplomat in Kabul said there was complete consensus among all stakeholders about changes to the electoral law and bringing reforms to the electoral bodies. He added there was possibility of difference of opinion which would be decided after consultations and talks, however all sides supported amendment in parts of the electoral law.
Indeed, the only way to political and economic stability is transparent election system in a country. Heeding the imperatives and lessons learned from the previous elections, the amendment to the law would contribute significantly to reducing these risks. A reformed electoral system and the relevant laws and the responsible commissions would play a determining role in leading the country into the right direction.
All stakeholders of the Afghan politics must commit themselves to safeguard the future political development.  It is crucial for the reform process to conclude as quickly as possible to enable the authorities to make the preparations for holding the upcoming presidential elections. The preparations for the elections would be a time-consuming and lengthy process.
Meanwhile, in order to well-practice the democracy in the country and safeguard the achievements, it is needed to support holding of elections and safeguard it from the parasites of corruption. The political parties should too, considering the time left for the upcoming presidential elections, should support the process and help both the government and election commissions to conduct the democratic process on due time and date.
Afghan nation has suffered almost four decades of devastating war which left behind millions of martyrs, disabled and refugees. Now it is the time that the gun should be put a way and the pen and democratic processes should be chosen to develop the war-torn country. It’s better to elect president through real votes not forged. Everyone should favor elections, as it is only alternative to current miseries—but through a nationwide and fraud-free elections.

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