President Ashraf Ghani has issued two separate decrees regarding the replacement of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) chairman following the dismissal of Najibullah Ahmadzai about 10 days ago.
In the first decree, Ghani said the relevant departments should introduce nominees for the position but did not specify what departments he was actually referring to.
Ten days later, on Saturday, Ghani issued another decree in which he ordered the former selection committee to find a new IEC chairman.
This move, to fire Ahmadzai, meanwhile drew sharp criticism from former national security adviser Rangin Dadfar Spanta on Sunday. He said Ghani was acting in violation of the election law.
“The last instance of violating the law happened in the last two days. The election law is in place and it is clear that when a commissioner is dismissed or resigns, a new commissioner should be appointed from the previous list (of nominees) within one week. But it is now 10 days later and the issue has not been resolved,” said Spanta.
Analysts said the president’s new decree is in violation of Articles 14 and 16 of the Election Law.
“According to the second paragraph of Article 14 of the Election Law, the work of the selection committee, which is an interim department, ends after introducing a list of 21 candidates to the Presidential Palace,” said the chairman of Afghanistan Civil Society Elections Network (ACSEN), Jandad Spinghar.
Yusuf Rasheed, a member of the selection committee meanwhile said it is not clear when the selection committee should start its work and that the president’s decree is not detailed.
“Unfortunately, it is not clear to us and we have not been told when to start our work and also an office is not specified for us to work in. We have (names of) competent individuals … this move (the new decree) is insulting to the committee and to the candidates who are on the list,” said Rasheed.
It has however been stated that the process to appoint a new IEC chief will be completed within a week – but preliminary steps have not yet been taken.
Selection committee members meanwhile said if they have to start from scratch, it will take at least three weeks to draw up a new list of candidates that they can send to the Presidential Palace.