Members of Parliament and Civil Society Leaders Make Recommendations for Electoral Law Reform

On October 17 and 18, DI organized a forum for civil society leaders and members of parliament (MPs) to discuss electoral law reform and for civil society organizations to make recommendations on the reform process. DI planned the discussions based on feedback from its recent electoral systems information sessions held in preparation for parliament’s upcoming review of the current draft electoral law. Following the two-day discussion, civil society leaders presented MPs with recommendations for specific changes to the Afghan electoral system. One of these recommendations was to move from the single, nontransferable vote electoral system to a mixed electoral system. Mixed electoral systems are a combination of two electoral systems: usually a majoritarian system, where candidates compete in single-seat districts, leading to greater accountability in government, and a proportional system, where candidates compete in multi-seat districts in which seats are allocated to parties based on the percentage of votes they receive. The forum also recommended improving how election complaints are handled and increasing women’s representation in parliament through mechanisms such as quotas, reserved seats, or a zipper system (men and women are alternatively listed on a party list so that every other candidate selected is a woman).

Following these discussions, the civil society leaders and MPs agreed to share their specific recommendations with the Executive Committee of Parliament that finalizes and prioritizes the legislative agenda. They also agreed to increase collaboration between policymakers and civil society on issues of electoral reform. DI will continue to work with these groups to facilitate engagement through dialogue and civic education so that future electoral reform is representative of the will and interests of the Afghan people.

TOLOnews, a major news channel in Afghanistan, covered these discussions hosted by DI. In the article, Daniel Murphy, DI’s Chief of Party, describes DI’s role as encouraging dialogue between different stakeholders in Afghanistan to increase the credibility of the electoral reform process.

See the attached file below for a summary of the recommendations.