Senators split over SNTV, want final poll schedule

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: A number of Meshrano Jirga members asked the government to declare a final schedule for long due Wolesi Jirga and district council elections and demanded the single non-transferable vote (SNTV) system. However, some other senators demanded implementation of the proportional representation electoral system.

The SNTV system is used in multi-member constituency elections. Under SNTV, each voter casts one vote for a candidate. Proportional representation is a class of voting system that makes the percentage of offices given to candidates reflect as closely as possible the percentage of votes that they received in the election.

The Electoral Reform Commission had suggested that one-thirds of Wolesi Jirga or lower house of parliament seats should be assigned to political parties but the government is yet to accept the idea.

Mohammad Rahim Hassanyar, a senator from southern Ghazni province, told session that voices behind giving seats to parties in the Wolesi Jirga actually did not want the elections to be held. He said there was no party in Afghanistan having a nationwide vote bank, therefore they should not be given a proportion representation.

Faisal Samay, deputy chairman of the Senate, also opposed assigning seats to parties in the lower house and said: “I am also a member of a political party, but I don’t think assigning seats to parties would be a good idea in the current situation.”

Mohammad Alam Ezedyar, first deputy chairman of the upper house, agreed political parties had no national influence and said: “Democracy is meaningless without giving share to political parties.

“For how long we should wait to see our political parties become standard ones and national. The Ministry of Justice should work for standardizing parties and the government should financially support them,” said Ezedyar.

A number of other senators called for the announcement of a final schedule for Wolesi Jirga and district council elections. Meshrano Jirga chairman Fazal Hadi Muslimyar urged the government to declare a final election schedule and asked Independent Election Commission officials to keep their independence.

He said the IEC should mange elections the way Afghans did not face any crisis in future. The IEC had said it was ready to hold elections on July 7 this year, but later on March 19 the commission said the elections might be delayed to October 21.

Based on the law, the election schedule should be announced 120 days ahead of holding the polls.