Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, December 10th, 2018

The Role of Parliament in Afghanistan

The parliament in Afghanistan can be referred to as National Assembly, which carries out legislative work in the country. The Assembly is an important organ of government, where laws are made. The Afghan National Assembly has two chambers, one is the Wolesi Jirga and the other is the Meshrano Jirga. Members of the Wolesi Jirga from all over the country, through a free choice of people are elected in accordance with the election law directives for a five-year term of office. It has 249 members. The Meshrano Jirga, on the other hand, has 102 members. One third of them, 34, are elected by provincial councils, another one-third, or 34 from district councils, and one-third of them, or 34 by the president, from distinguished individuals (scholars, scholars, Kuchis, the disabled and the disadvantaged) are appointed.
According to Article 81 of the Constitution of the country, the National Assembly of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is the most prestigious legislative body, which represents the will of its people and their rights.
A government system that has a parliament is considered by many experts as the best guarantee of the democratic system. Because it is based on the participation of the people. In general, the existence of a parliament means the rule of law, and it is a parliament in which representatives of all groups and units negotiate and represent the political unity of a country.
The National Assembly in Afghanistan discusses and ratifies all laws, with the exception of the constitution. The rules are first to be considered and approved in the Wolesi Jirga, and then goes to the Meshrano Jirga. Funding is first sent to the Meshrano Jirga for study and approval, and then comes to the Wolesi Jirga.
One of the most important tasks of parliament is legislation but its role is not limited to legislation. Parliaments in the current world are multi-tasking centers. It is can be like a central nervous system of a country that is based on true democracy. Parliament, in accordance with the needs and changes of the time, refines the law and acts like the mirror of the community.
One of the other most important tasks of the parliament in the present day is to monitor the performance of the executive branch. This will enable the parliament to review the executive branch in different sections, taking into account the principle of executive responsibility vis-a-vis the parliament. The monitoring operation is carried out in a variety of ways. The most common of these methods is done in three ways:
1- Question 2- Emergency discussion. 3- Committees of inquiry.
Since parliamentarians are elected by the people, they can supervise all executive functions and oversee the work of the government by questioning and impeaching ministers and setting up research committees or regulatory bodies. Even the parliament can give the head of state or ministers a vote of no confidence and lead to the collapse of the government.
It can be observed that in all political systems, parliaments have considerable discretion over political oversight over executive power. The result of this kind of monitoring is that the executive branch must be held accountable to the parliament from a political standpoint. In accordance with the provisions of the constitution of Afghanistan, the National Assembly exercises its political control over the government through the following:
Through voting, delegates can monitor the benefits and function of the government. It means that in determining the members of the cabinet or government the consent of the parliament is a prerequisite, and if the members of the cabinet fails to obtain parliamentary approval, they cannot be assigned a duty.
In Afghanistan, in accordance with Articles 64 and 157 of the Constitution, the appointment of ministers, the Attorney General, the head of the Central Bank, the head of national security, the head of state, and the appointment of the commission for the monitoring of the implementation of the constitution are determined by the approval of the Wolesi Jirga.
The accountability of the executive branch to the parliament is because the parliament has called for the representation of the people, and therefore the executive branch must be under constant control and supervision. The strongest element that gives power to parliamentary democracy is the same task of accountability.
Members of the parliament, as representatives of the people, have a duty to discuss important national issues. The discussion of important issues sometimes comes at the request of the government, sometimes by the demand of a number of parliamentarians or opposition parties, at the request of the parliament itself.
However, it has been observed in Afghanistan that the parliament members do not fulfill all these duties. Firstly, because the presidential system in the country tries to dominate the parliament and deprive its members of their due roles and authorities. Secondly, the parliament members do not have enough capacity to run the affairs of the parliament and their roles as per the requirements of the system. Let’s hope that the parliament members, who will be announced successful in the elections that have already passed, will perform their duties and provide this institution its true position as per the Constitution of the country.