Afghan lawmakers on Saturday claimed that the election timetable announced by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) went against Afghanistan’s constitution because it has a poll for both the president and the provincial councils on the same day.

Parliamentarians criticised the IEC decision saying that the provincial council elections should be held a year before the presidential poll, as per Afghanistan’s constitution.

The IEC revealed Wednesday that the date for presidential and provincial councils poll will be Hamal 16, 1391 (April 5 2014).

“Provincial council elections should be held a year prior to presidential election. Holding both elections of the presidential and provincial councils at the same time is in contradiction with the constitution,” said Bamyan MP Fakoori Beheshti on Saturday.

Speaker of the parliament Abdurraouf Ibrahimi said the decision need to be studied again by the IEC.

“In the constitution, holding both elections on the same date is not allowed. This issue should be inspected and officials of Independent Elections Commissions should respond,” he said.

Aside from this criticism, a number of MPs raised concerns that the start of April was too early to have the election given that some of the roads to remote areas will be closed by wintery conditions.

“On 16th of Hamal, all the [remote] roads are closed due to snow and rain. Therefore, all of the people living in the remote areas will not be able to participate in the elections,” said Ghazni MP Mohammed Ali Akhlaqi.
Ghor MP Keramuddin Rezazada agreed.

“In most of the areas, such as the provinces Badakhshan, Daikondi, and Bamyan, most of the roads are closed even until quite close to summer, therefore the residents of these areas will be deprived from their civil right as they will not be able to participate in the elections,” he said.

Despite the elections being held a year and a half from now, serious concerns have been raised over insecurity, lack of adequate census and population statistics, and the use of old voting cards.

Another pressing issue is the Lower House decision to allow two international members out of seven commissioners in the Electoral Complaints Commissions, a decision heavily criticised by President Hamid Karzai. The Senate is yet to approve the decision.

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