The Electoral Complaints Commission was created for the first time in 2005 to investigate complaints related to the Wolesi Jirga and Provincial Council elections as part of the Joint Electoral Management Body (JEMB) in Afghanistan. In 2009, it was created for Presidential and Provincial Council elections complaints investigation. In 2010, it was activated as an independent and temporary institution for Wolesi Jirga elections complaints investigation. In 2013, the Electoral Complaints Commission was created before the approval of the Structure, Duties and Authorities Electoral Law and after the electoral complaints investigation process was abolished.
Later in 2013, the Electoral Complaints Commission was created as an independent and permanent organization, after the Election Law and Structure, Duties and Authorities Electoral Law of Commissions, were signed by the president of Afghanistan. The biggest goal of the ECC’s establishment is complaints and objections investigation to institutionalize electoral justice on the national and democratic electoral process in the country.
After 2014 electoral difficulties, Afghanistan Parliament and Civil Society aimed to create electoral reforms. Consequently, the Afghan Government created the Special Electoral Reform Commission (SERC) in order to bring essential and fundamental reforms in election affairs. This Commission makes recommendations to the government according to the experiences and shortcomings that existed in previous elections. Eventually, these recommendations result in changes to Election Law.
The new Election Law was signed and implemented, according to the legislative decree (#105) of the Afghan president, on September 1, 2016. According to Article 28 of the Election Law, the Electoral Complaints Commission is established “to address objections and complaints arising from electoral negligence and violations, and to identify crimes related to the elections.” This Commission is a permanent organization and has five commissioners.
The Electoral Complaints Commission is responsible to ensure justice and transparency during elections and to enforce voters’ rights according to Afghan laws. This commission works continuously for consolidation and expansion of democracy by establishing an atmosphere of trust, raising the level of national participation and institutionalizing regular and normative elections in the country.
The Electoral Complaints Commission and its provincial offices have the following tasks and duties, according to Article 30 of Election Law:
- Inspecting objections to the list of candidates and their qualifications which have been discussed in the electoral process.
- Inspecting complaints related to electoral infractions, providing complaints were registered in the specified time period according to the written law.
- Recommending, warning and implementing corrective actions against any person or entity that has committed infractions.
- Assessing cash fines, according to circumstances and the written law.
- Ordering vote recounts in certain polling stations, before the announcement of the election results.
- Identifying invalid and ineligible ballots.
This article clearly stipulates that ECC or provincial commission can disqualify a candidate from the final list when it has been proven that he/she is ineligible for nomination according to credible documents and the written law.