The National Assembly, as envisaged in the Constitution, consists of two houses: the Wolesi Jirga (the House of the People) and the Meshrano Jirga (the House of Elders).
"The National Assembly of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan as the highest legislative organ is the manifestation of the will of its people and represents the whole nation. Every member of the National Assembly takes into judgment the general welfare and supreme interests of all people of Afghanistan at the time of casting their vote."
Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (Article Eighty-One)
The National Assembly has the following duties:
Ratification, modification or abrogation of laws or legislative decrees;
Approval of social, cultural, economic as well as technological development programs;
Approval of the state budget as well as permission to obtain or grant loans;
Creation, modification and or abrogation of administrative units;
Ratification of international treaties and agreements, or abrogation of membership of Afghanistan in them;
Other authorities enshrined in this Constitution.
The Wolesi Jirga (House of People)
The Wolesi Jirga has 249 seats with members directly elected by the people. Sixty-eight women were elected to the seats reserved under the Constitution, while 17 of them have been elected in their own rights. Each province was given proportionate representation in the Wolesi Jirga according to its population. Each member of the Wolesi Jirga will enjoy a five year term.
An aspiring candidate for the Wolesi Jirga must fulfill the following criteria:
Be at least 25 years of age
Be a citizen of Afghanistan
Be registered as a voter
Be running as a representative in only one province
Pay a registration fee of 15,000 Afghanis (approximately US$300) which will be refunded provided the candidate wins at least three percent (3%) of the vote
Submit a nomination form along with photocopies of 500 voter ID cards supporting the candidacy
In addition, no candidate can have been charged with crimes against humanity.
The Meshrano Jirga (House of Elders)
The Meshrano Jirga consists of a mixture of appointed and elected members (total 102 members). Sixty-eight members were selected by 34 directly elected Provincial Councils, and 34 were appointed by the President. President Karzai’s appointments were vetted by an independent UN sponsored election board and included 17 women (50 %), as required by the Constitution.
Each provincial council has elected one council member to serve in the Jirga (34 members), also each district council (34 members). Representatives of provincial councils will serve a term of four years, while representatives of district councils will serve a term of three years. Sebghatulla Mojadeddi was appointed President of Meshrano Jirga.
An aspiring candidate for the Meshrano Jirga must fulfill the following criteria:
In addition, no potential member of the Meshrano Jirga can have been charged with crimes against humanity.
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