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Afghan vote law change planned ‘to fight fraud’

By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, April 29, 2012 12:10 EDT
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Afghan voting via AFP
 
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KABUL — Afghanistan’s election commission has drafted proposed changes to the country’s election law in a bid to prevent fraud in future parliamentary votes, an official said Sunday.

Afghanistan’s 2009 presidential election and the parliamentary election held a year later were both characterised by widespread electoral fraud.

“We have used the previous election experiences to prepare the new draft to improve future elections,” Independent Election Commission spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor told AFP.

“In the new draft around 50 percent of the electoral law will be changed.”

The proposed amendments include modifications in the vote for parliamentary elections which would allocate a third of seats to political parties on the basis of proportional representation, he said.

The rest of the seats would remain subject to the single, non-transferable vote for an individual candidate which governed previous elections.

Other changes revolve around the authority of the election commission — which is appointed by the government — and the Election Complaints Commission that will redefine violations and fraud.

But the changes will not affect presidential elections, Noor said.

“The Afghan constitution is very clear about the presidential elections — the changes are only for parliamentary elections,” he said.

In 2009, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, was re-elected in the second election since the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban regime amid allegations of widespread voting irregularities and fraud.

He will complete his term in 2014, which coincides with the withdrawal of US-led NATO forces fighting a Taliban insurgency and the full transfer of security responsibilities to Afghan troops.

But earlier this month, Karzai said he was considering bringing the presidential elections forward to leave enough time for the new government to handle the security transition.

Afghanistan’s last parliamentary vote, in 2010, also faced the same fraud which blighted Karzai’s re-election, delaying the announcement of the final results for months.

“The draft law has already been presented to civil society members and will be sent to the justice ministry and parliament for approval soon,” Noor said.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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