Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Political Landscape

Looking Back: An Afghanistan Watch Analysis of the Voting Patterns in the First Parliament

Sari Kouvo 2 min

What lessons can be drawn from the first parliamentary cycle? What voting patterns and political alignments have developed in the parliament? What ideas, ideologies and powers have been at play when the parliament voted for the Mass Media Law, the National Reconciliation Charter or the Higher Education Law? These are some of the questions addressed in Afghanistan Watch’s report ‘The First Experience – Voting Patterns and Political Alignments in the Wolesi Jirga 2005-2010’. Sari Kouvo, AAN Co-Director, takes a closer look at the research conducted by Afghanistan Watch and funded by AAN

The report published by Afghanistan Watch focuses on the voting patterns and political alignments that have developed over the past five years in the Afghan Parliament. With broad strokes – and rather provocatively – the report identifies three main ideological groupings within the parliament: The Islamists (divided in secular Islamists, traditionalists and fundamentalists), former leftists and intellectuals. The report then sets out to show the voting patterns of these political alignments on some of the more controversial laws adopted during the first parliamentary cycle, including the Mass Media Law, the National Reconciliation Charter and the Higher Education Law.
The picture that emerges is that of a heterogeneous and sometimes incoherent legislative, where the real sources of power and influence often lie beyond the apparent and the political. The analysis of the approval of the National Reconciliation Charter shows the divergent reasons amongst the leading mujahedin parliamentarians for adopting the law, but also how allegiances were forged in order to ensure the adoption of the law. In the analysis of the process leading up to the adoption of the Mass Media Law the report shows the challenges in adopting laws that limit the government’s powers. The discussions surrounding the Higher Education Law sees another dynamic come into play, that of the ‘war of identities’ as it is in the area of education that ethnic and linguistic tensions are most easily uncovered.

The author of the report has a flamboyant stroke: On occasion he gets carried away more by his arguments than by his facts. That said; this is an interesting and timely report. Just days before the new legislative is elected, it is relevant to understand what has influenced the current one when conducting its core functions.

To read the report, please, click here.

Afghanistan Watch is an independent, non-governmental and non-political organization registered with the Ministry of National Economy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Its mission is to undertake activities that will promote peace, justice, and a culture of mutual tolerance and respect for human rights in Afghanistan.


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