Legal Framework

The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan aims to “establish an order based on the peoples’ will and democracy” (Preamble). Article 4 provides that national sovereignty belongs to the nation, directly and through its elected representatives. Furthermore, Article 33 provides that the citizens of Afghanistan have the right to elect and be elected.

According to Article 61 of the Constitution, the President of Afghanistan is elected by receiving more than fifty percent of votes cast “through free, general, secret and direct voting”. The presidential election works by a two-round system: if no candidate gets more than fifty percent of the votes in the first round, a second round of elections shall be held between the two frontrunners within two weeks from the date election results are proclaimed. Elections for the new President must be held within thirty to sixty days before the end of the presidential term, fixed on the first day of the month of Jawza of the fifth year after elections. In case one of the presidential candidates dies during the first or second round of elections, but before the declaration of results, a new election shall be held according to national law.

Article 62 edicts legal requirements for candidates to the offices of President or Vice-President. In order to be a candidate, an individual must: be a citizen of Afghanistan, Muslim, born of Afghan parents and not be a citizen of another country; be at least forty years old on the day of candidacy; not have been convicted of crimes against humanity, a criminal act or deprivation of civil rights by a court; not have been elected twice already to the office of President.

Regarding the National Assembly, Article 83 of the Constitution reads that the House of People or Wolesi Jirga should be composed of no more than two hundred fifty (250) members and that the number of members shall be proportionate to the population in each constituency. Each province must have at least two female MPs and the electoral law shall guarantee “general and fair representation for all the people of the country”.

Article 84 establishes the composition of the House of Elders or Meshrano Jirga as follows: – one member from each provincial council, elected by this council for a period of four years. The elected individual shall lose membership in said council. – one member from district councils in each province, elected by these councils for a period of three years. The elected individual shall lose membership in the related council. – Presidential appointees make up the remaining third of the House. These individuals are appointed from amongst experts and experienced personalities for a period of five years. Two must come from persons with disabilities and two from nomads, also fifty percent of Presidential appointees must be women.

According to Article 85, any candidate to election or appointment to the National Assembly (House of People or House of Elders) shall comply with the following requirements: be a citizen of Afghanistan for at least ten years on the day of candidacy; not have been convicted of crimes against humanity, a criminal act or deprivation of civil rights by a court; be at least 25 years old on the day of candidacy for the House of People and 35 years old for the House of Elders.

In September 2016, the government has introduced a new electoral law bringing reforms to the Afghan electoral system, which was passed by Presidential decree and not debated by Parliament. The size of constituencies for parliamentary and provincial council elections is to be decreased by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) in accordance with article 35 of the new law. There are reports that the IEC may use this opportunity to replace the current Single Non-Transferable (SNTV) system by a First-Past-the-Post (FPTP), through the introduction of single-member constituencies, a move that is polarizing political parties. The new law also introduces a voter registration system in which voters would be linked to polling stations to resolve the issue of massive over-registration in the country.

Resources :


PDF : The Constitution of Afghanistan (IEC: Amended to 2004)
PDF : Constitution (IEC) (Dari)

Electoral Law

PDF : Election Law 2014 (English) (IEC)
PDF : Election Law 2016 English (IEC)
PDF : Electoral Law 2005-05-10 (Joint Electoral Management Bodies) (Dari-Pashto)
PDF : Law on the Structure, Duties and Authorities of the Independent Election Commission and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission
PDF : Political Parties Law (English)
PDF : Political Parties Law (Dari)

Other Related Law

PDF : Law on Assemblies, Strikes, and Demonstrations
PDF : Law of Citizenship
PDF : Law of Citizenship (Dari)
PDF : Penal Code


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