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The E-Tazkera Rift: Yet another political crisis looming?

The roll out of electronic national identity cards, also known as the e-tazkera has begun, heating up a contentious political debate, which had been simmering since 2013. That debate centres on whether the new ID should mention the holder’s ethnicity, and his or her nationality using the term ‘Afghan’ and in particular whether the words […]

Afghanistan Election Conundrum (4): New controversies surrounding the appointment of a new electoral commissioner

The need to appoint a new member of the IEC came after its chairman, Najibullah Ahmadzai, was sacked by President Ashraf Ghani on 15 November 2017. The president ordered the Selection Committee, a body responsible for shortlisting candidates for membership of the IEC and ECC, to be reconvened. The body shortlisted three candidates, from which […]

The Afghanistan Election Conundrum (3): The dilemma of electoral constituencies

It looks increasingly unlikely that the next parliamentary (and district council) elections can be held as planned on 7 July 2018. Although the Independent Election Commission (IEC) continues its preparations for the polls, important questions remain unresolved. Due to a lack of consensus, the electoral system remains unchanged, but the IEC has been grappling with […]

Afghanistan Election Conundrum (1): Political pressure on commissioners puts 2018 vote in doubt

While struggling to prepare for the parliamentary (and supposedly also district council) elections scheduled for the 7 July 2018, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) are finding themselves under increasing fire from a growing number of political groups and election observer bodies. There have been allegations of financial corruption, government interference […]

The Constitutional Oversight Commission in a Standoff with President Ghani: Defending their independence or covering up mistakes?

The Afghan government has found itself in a complicated legal tangle again. After the Independent Commission for Overseeing the Implementation of the Constitution (hereafter, Constitutional Oversight Commission) dismissed its chair, the president ordered an evaluation of the Commission’s performance in a move that looks designed to curtail its independence. Although the legal basis for the […]

The ‘Ankara Coalition’: Opposition from within the government

Over the past two years, the National Unity Government (NUG) has been challenged by internal power struggles, protest movements and now an ‘opposition’ coalition made up of influential officials from within. It is the first time, however, that leaders of three mainstream political parties from three major ethnic groups have joined forces – at least […]