Kabul Tomorrow Unknown
Kandahar Tomorrow Sunny
Herat Tomorrow Unknown
Mazar-i-sharif Tomorrow Unknown
Ghazni Tomorrow Sunny
Jalalabad Tomorrow Sunny
Bamiyan Tomorrow Sunny
Zaranj Tomorrow Sunny
Mimana Tomorrow Sunny
The Killid Group
Poll results take a tollWritten by Killid Commentary
Sunday, 05 December 2010 11:09
Tensions over the results of the September 18 parliamentary elections continued to grow, with allegations and counter-allegations flying fast and furious. Losing candidates have blocked roads leading to a disruption of traffic on some of the main highways. Meanwhile the confrontation between the office of the Attorney General and the Election Commission deepened with the AG office detaining several electoral officials. The AG has questioned the decision of electoral institutions to invalidate around 1.3 million votes and alleged that parliament seats were being bought in the Dubai and Kabul money exchanges as we reported last week.
An additional dimension was added to the controversy this week with the newscasts of a "blonde woman" who was secretly filmed asking for bribes in exchange for ensuring favourable results. The woman in question was later identified as a Hungarian citizen and some kind of electoral observer though her bonafides for participating in the electoral process remains unclear.
All these controversies point in one direction. It seems as if the results of the parliamentary elections will not be due to the choice of Afghans at the ballot boxes and whatever the final result it is likely to leave many doubts in the minds of people.
At the time Killid went to press the results for Ghazni province still remained undeclared. The controversy over Ghazni has arisen because despite the presence of a substantial Pashtun population, all winning candidates from the province belonged to the Hazara community.
Some analysts suspect that the IEC is being pressurized to change the results of the province because of this outcome. On the other hand Hazara have come together to demand that the election results be declared. They have also threatened that if the results are changed, all candidates elected from the Hazara community would boycott the parliament, thus challenging the functioning of the democratic institution.
The recently concluded polls saw a low turnout because of apathy and the non-performance of the previous parliament. It now seems likely that the confidence of Afghans in this institution will be further reduced because of the controversies.
The Afghan parliament is one of the three pillars of governance along with the government and the judiciary. It passes legislation and also exercises a supervisory role over the executive. One of the main tasks of the parliament is also to give the vote of confidence to cabinet appointments.
In the previous parliament, the relationship between the legislature and the executive remained strained. Currently a number of ministers are performing without parliamentary approval. Data from the previous parliament also shows that as many as 50% of the legislation bills introduced by the government were not passed.
If the current controversies over the parliament are not resolved it is unlikely that parliament will be able to exercise its oversight role over the government. It is likely that parliamentarians, elected with few votes, will lack legitimacy, be unable to exert their authority and deepen the divide between the legislature and the executive. The final outcome of this will be detrimental to the Afghan people.
As the controversies continue there are also suspicions that some of the new parliamentarians will use their position in order to secure financial gains in lieu of their approval, for example, for the cabinet appointments.
If this is the case, it will seriously damage the value of the vote, of the electoral process and Afghanistan's nascent democracy. It is those who believe in the democratic system who will be sacrificed.
Looking at the new candidates it seems clear that many of them do not have any idea about law and the legislative process. It also seems that the educational level of the new parliament is not higher than that of the previous one and that many of the winners were elected because of money, corruption, tribal allegiances, factional and linguistic reasons. It is feared that they may therefore repeat some of the same mistakes as that made by the previous parliament which had even led to fights within the parliament. Until now it is not clear who the next speaker of the lower house of the newly elected parliament will be and whether he or she will be able to control and resolve these controversies and disputes which seem likely. Afghans will have to wait and see the final outcome of the ongoing disputes for answers to some of these critical questions and concerns.