The Independent Electoral Complaints Commission’s (IECC) move to disqualify election candidates with links to illegal armed groups has been widely welcomed by the Afghan public, election watchdogs and political parties.
Citizens say that these individuals have taken the people of the country hostage.
The IECC committee tasked to investigate reports of links between some candidates and illegal armed groups on Wednesday said if the claims prove true, they will disqualify those concerned.
“The government should support the government in line with the law so that no sort of pressure affects the decision of the electoral complaints commission so that electoral justice is preserved,” said Mohammad Naeem Ayoubzada, chairman of Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan.
“We support and welcome the decision made by the electoral complaints commission, these kinds of warlords who have possibly been involved in major crimes in Afghanistan will misuse their post if they take up positions, it is better that from today, the way is closed for them to participate in the election process. I am sure that they will use their guns to collect votes from the people,” said Parwiz Habibi, a resident of Takhar in northern Afghanistan.
“I, as a student, want avenues to be closed for warlords and lawbreakers who want to be in government; it is good news for us and we pray that such things happen. I want the future of Afghanistan to be better. It is a bold decision. Because of these people the war does not stop in Afghanistan; if they are not prevented (from being in government), the future of the country will be worse,” said Irfanullah, a Nangarhar resident.
“This is a positive move by government to launch a crackdown against warlords and those who have committed crimes and carried out oppression; they must be dropped from the list. If they find their way to parliament or to the presidential palace, they will do the same in future,” said another Nangarhar resident, Ashiqullah.
Political parties have also announced their support for the move by the IECC.
“The question before us is who has determined these standards and based on which judgements are these decisions made,” said Mohammad Amin Karim, a member of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar-led Hizb-e-Islami group.
Meanwhile, a number of legal experts have said that the action against these candidates, based on the majority votes of members of the IECC, is illegal.
“This commission should help in identifying the individuals, but the decision making is related to the election commission to determine the fate of candidates based on credible evidence,” said legal expert Abdul Subhan Misbah.
The IECC is expected to disqualify candidates who are involved in security issues, coordinated crimes, drug smuggling, and misuse of public and private assets.
The IECC is scheduled to wrap up its assessment of the complaints filed against the candidates by August 2.
IECC last week said a committee has been tasked to investigate reports of links between some candidates and illegal armed groups.
The committee will be led by the head of the IECC Abdul Aziz Aryayee, and members of the commission will be from the Ministry of Interior (MoI), Ministry of Defense (MoD), National Directorate of Security (NDS) and the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG), said Ali Reza Rouhani, the IECC’s spokesman.
IECC chief Abdul Aziz Aryayee said the commission has so far received over 200 complaints relating to candidates having ties with armed groups. They said the names of candidates proven to have these links will be dropped from the election list within a week.