Afghan President Hamid Karzai has named three new commissioners, including a former provincial governor, to the Independent Election Commission (IEC), a body that has faced criticism in the past for failing to stand up to government pressure. The internationally-funded IEC has been at the centre of a standoff between the Karzai administration and parliament over a fraud-marred 2010 vote in which it threw out nearly a quarter of all votes over fraud and technical complaints.
Two of the new commissioners are former members of parliament, Rida Azimi from Parwan province, and Sayed Hashim Folad from Nangarhar, while the third official is Ghulam Dastagir Azad, who was earlier appointed by Karzai as governor of Uruzgan province.
A spokesman for the seven-member IEC said the appointments had been made following the end of the three-year terms of three officials. The terms of two other officials was extended, while the remaining officials were in the middle of their term.
“Their term was over. They had to be either extended or replaced. This is President’s decision,” Noor Ahmad said. The presidency was not immediately available for comment.
Karzai is in his second term in office. According to the Afghan constitution, he is not allowed to run for a third term, although the opposition has accused him of wanting to change the rules to be able to do so. Karzai has denied the allegation.
The changes at the election commission follow replacements of four people at the national human rights commission including Ahmad Nader Nadery, an outspoken critic of Karzai, last week.
Full Article: Afghan president appoints new election officials | Reuters.