KABUL – Afghanistan’s Attorney General’s office began on Wednesday a probe against members of the country’s election commission, after they were sacked over complaints that they misused their authority during last year’s parliamentary elections.
President Ashraf Ghani announced the sacking of all 12 members of the Independent Election Commission on Tuesday hours after signing a new law that is expected to bring much-needed reforms in the country’s electoral system.
The Attorney General’s office has barred the officials from leaving the country, while investigations are carried out.
“All 12 former members and chairmen of the IEC and Independent Electoral Complaints Commissions (IECC) have been put under a travel ban,” Jamshid Rasouli, spokesperson for the Attorney General’s office, told EFE on Wednesday.
“The Attorney General’s Office assures the people it will independently and impartially deal with the cases with full transparency and justice and will keep people informed of the proceedings,” Rasouli added.
“The Presidential palace has confirmed that with the approval of amendment to the electoral law, all of the electoral commissioners including the heads of the IEC and IECC are automatically dismissed with immediate effect,” presidential palace spokesperson, Haroon Chakhansuri, said in a statement.
Ghani has given parties and civil society groups a week to nominate new election commission members.
The calls for reforms followed chaotic parliamentary elections last fall, which were marred by allegations of fraud and other irregularities.
Many voting centers opened hours late or did not open at all during the elections that had been postponed by three years.
The full results of the elections held in late October have yet to be announced.
Earlier this week, Ghani said that he hoped to introduce more reforms to the country’s electoral system and commissions to pave the way for transparent and fair presidential elections scheduled for later this year.
The amendment and firings come amid demands in the country to postpone the July elections and form an interim government, one of the main demands made by the Taliban as part of its ongoing peace talks with the United States.
Ghani, who is opposed to the US-Taliban talks, says that only the Afghan government should negotiate with the Taliban on behalf of the country and wants the elections to go ahead as planned.