The second parliamentary election in post-Taliban Afghanistan was held on September 18, 2010. Almost one year has elapsed since Afghan people across the country braved the death threats posed by Taliban lunatics to demonstrate their will and commitment to the democratic process that has been in place since 2001. That day was not without casualties. Voters and security personnel working to provide security for the election got killed in different parts of the country.
Despite all the widespread fraud in 2009 presidential election and threats of growing insecurity, the participation of Afghan people rekindled the hope for the triumph of democracy in the country. But this hope is being crashed now not by the Taliban or other extremist lunatics but by those who are supposed to be the guardians of democratic system. The controversies over the parliamentary election results are now at make or break point.
President Hamid Karzai has issued a decree to the Independent Election Commission (IEC) to decide about the ruling of the Special Election Tribunal. This Tribunal was set up by president Karzai himself just because he did not see his favorite candidates among the winners. This special court after months came up with a list of 62 sitting members of parliament and introduced another 62 failed candidates that could replace those 62 MP's.
Now the MP's are on strike and demanding for implementation of their approvals and warning against any change by any institution to their composition. They insist on implementation of their approvals and have asked the government and Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) not to bring any kinds of change in the results of the parliamentarian elections under the title interests. On Saturday, August 13, they issued a resolution saying," We declare that under Article 86 of the constitution, no one has the right to alter the outcome.
If the government or any other organization interferes with the results, the house will react." The resolution was approved by a majority vote. Only seven members opposed the move. The declaration has emphasized once again on its approvals said that the Lower House (LH) will not allow any organization to bring changes in the results of the parliamentarian elections against article 86 of the constitution and article 58 and 62 of the Electoral Law. Their supporters have begun to visit them and voice their backing for their representatives.
Mohammad Rafeq Shaheer member of the constitution support coalition has said that they have not officially invited the citizens for the protest, but they will go on strike and demonstration in front of the presidential palace until their demands are fulfilled. Earlier, Abdul Zaher Qadir, the head of coalition to protect laws said that the result of the parliamentary elections would remain the same as announced by the IEC, "There is no difference between members of the parliament.
We are all representatives of people." Abdul Zaher Qadir said that the coalition has enough support of the people all across the country and will fully support the parliament. Referring to the president, he said, "You were just a restaurant owner in the United States and we cast vote and chose you as president of Afghanistan. We are also able to take our votes back." Afghan parliament's second secretary, Ahmad Behzad, said: "I want to tell Mr. Manawi very clearly that he is not the Rafsanjani of Afghanistan.
The Independent Elections Commission has already announced its decision all the world knows it. So it should never change its decision under any kind of pressure." Many domestic and international observers have maintained that this election was better than the presidential election held in 2009, whose credibility also came to question after more than one million votes were chucked out as fraudulent. While Afghanistan faces many daunting problems and challenges, the three branches of government have been at loggerheads over this issue. IEC has been resisting any pressure by the government and president to change the result or accept the verdict of an illegally established tribunal that did not go through a transparent process of recount before announcing its ruling to unseat 62 MPs and replace them with another 62 failed candidates, some of whom were not even on the IEC's list of possible winners.
Some observers are of the view that President Karzai's last week's decree shows that he wants the IEC to run the show and take the final decision. After the issuance of the decree, a presidential spokesman Siamak Herawi said that the IEC would evaluate the Special Election Tribunal's findings and would decide if any candidates should be removed, adding "Based on the national interest of the country, Karzai has said that all those documents and evidence will be passed to the IEC. He gave the IEC authority to make a final decision."
In the meanwhile Abdullah Ahmadzai, the chief electoral officer at the IEC said "This is mainly a decree to finalize, or put an end, to this issue." He said that the commission hoped to finish making rulings within a week. It is hoped that the IEC continues its commitment to people's votes and announce its final decision soon as it is certain that the Special Court, which had no technical capacity, could not find anything that had escaped the IEC attention, which has the improved capacity and all the technical tools to separate the fraudulent votes.
The dispute between the branches of power comes at the time when Taliban militants have increased their attacks across the country. In fact, the crisis between the three branches of power- executive, legislature and judiciary- is becoming protracted. This has affected service delivery by the executive institutions, legislation and oversight by the legislature and calls the decisions made by Supreme Court into question because Wolesi Jirga is busy in efforts to defend its status and protect rule of law, the Supreme Court is run by some judges whose term has expired, the attorney general has been a no confidence vote by the parliament and the president is engrossed in how to play out the game he started to his own advantage.
In fact, there is a sort of paralysis in the three branches of power. The fragility of the overall political and security situation has served as a deterrence against any radical move by the parliament. Any irresponsible decision by the IEC on people's votes will plunge the country into a deep crisis. President Karzai must not continue his pressure on the IEC to act according to his pleasure to bring 17, more or less favorites to the Wolesi Jirga. Do not crash a rekindled hope. Instead save the people from being drowned in the wave of terrorist attacks.