IEC’s (Independent Election Commission) Secretariat
The secretariat is a very important and executive part of the Independent Election Commission. In accordance with article 22 of the electoral law, and with the agreement of the majority of the members of the IEC, three most eligible persons shall be proposed to the President for the position of Chief Electoral Officer, and the President shall appoint one of them to the mentioned position. The IEC secretariat has the responsibility of executing and implementing all decisions from the early stages of planning to the final stages of the elections taken at the policy level by members of Commission. The affairs of the Secretariat shall be led by the CEO and two of his deputies (the deputy of finance and administration affairs and the deputy of operations). The IEC Secretariat consists of ten directorates at the HQ level, and these directorates are those in charge of different election’s related affairs. The Commission also has provincial offices in the form of permanent structure that are managed by the Provincial Electoral Officers (PEOs) of the Commission.
Election Commission’s Ten Directorates Responsibilities
1. Legal Directorate
In accordance with the laws of the country, the IEC Secretariat’s legal directorate is responsible to establish accurate and comprehensive legal framework, as well as presenting opinions, suggestions and necessary consultations to the members of the Commission and the different directorates of the Secretariat in relation to various issues. Moreover, the legal directorate has the responsibility to prepare drafts, procedures, codes of conduct, Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs), and prepares other legal documents, which are presented to the Commission for approval. The legal directorate has also the responsibility of accreditation issuance to the national and international stakeholder’s institutions and candidates during the electoral operations period.
2. Finance and budget directorate
Finance and budget Directorate develops financial plans and is responsible for its oversight. This directorate plays an important and vital role in the provision, process, and defending of annual budget proposal of the Commission. The Finance directorate monitors and evaluates the performance and progress in relation to the implementation and improvement of functional affairs, in accordance with the approved budget. It prepares and presents regular reports on the financial situation of the organization at different times period. One of the responsibilities of this department is managing the core and sub-projects of the Commission, which funds are paid by donors. The monetary and financial activities, including the execution of cash payments, arrangement of salaries, the adjustment of expenses and other check or receipts for the transfer of the money and purchases, are also controlled and monitored by this directorate.
3. Planning and Policy Directorate
The Planning and Policy Directorate is in charge of arranging the election plan and procedures related to different phases. According to the approved guidelines by the Commission and, in cooperation with the various directorates of the Secretariat, the Directorate is responsible to determine the framework for the different electoral activities. This Directorate also coordinates various activities in the course of the election, which are carried out through different directorates, and prepares different reports. The Planning and Policy Directorate, in co-operation with the Finance and budget Directorate, arranges the annual budget plan, and is responsible for presenting it to the Ministry of Finance for approval. Also, in line with the goals of the National Strategy documents, the Directorate ensures regular contact with different government agencies linked to IEC activities.
4. Training and Capacity Building Directorate
The Training and Capacity Building Directorate has the responsibility of all training related activities during the different electoral processes and capacity building of IEC staff. In order to prepare for the elections and ensure that all election staff are fully aware about their activities and responsibilities in different phases, this Directorate prepares and implements training activities and develops materials. Training and Capacity Building Directorate is also in charge of setting up specific programs and oversees their implementation, in line with the improvement of the academic and professional capacities of the IEC staff as well as their introduction to different training programs both inside and outside the country. Another responsibility of the Training Directorate is to archive all election related documents at various phases at the IEC library for capacity building purpose and to allow access of all staff to electoral materials and affairs related.
5. Information and Technology Directorate
The IT Directorate has the responsibility to provide technical services related to information technology at IEC HQ and provinces level and oversees communication networks. The IT Directorate is responsible for IEC database, website and the network system.
The department has also the responsibility to manage the National Tally Center (NTC) for Data Entry as well as training IEC staff on voter registration forms and process elections results. The IT Directorate at provincial level is in charge of information technology affairs at provincial level.
6. Information and Public Outreach Directorate
Information and Public Outreach Directorate (IPOD) is responsible for awareness raising campaign to inform potential voters and people of Afghanistan on the importance of the elections and encourage them to play an active role in the electoral process. When conceiving awareness messages, IPOD takes into considerations religious and cultural aspects.
IPOD is also in charge of the provision of informative material related to elections and the implementation of public awareness programs throughout the country. IPOD has permanent staff members in each province, the latter is responsible for public awareness issues in the respective provinces.
IPOD is also in charge of the Election Education center at IEC HQ, that provides electoral information to school students, universities, women and other people. This directorate organizes also simulation on the election process for better awareness of Afghanistan people regarding electoral process.