The Relationship Between Executive and Parliament and the Problem of Constitutional Interpretation and Adjudication During the Karzai Years
This article advances an enquiry into President Hamid Karzai’s (r. 2001-2014) constitutional legacy with special reference to relations between the executive and legislature during his presidency. Before engaging in that enquiry, a brief account is given in the introduction of the developments during the months following Karzai’s exit from office. What happened during this period tends to accentuate the unresolved issues of Karzai’s presidency and put Afghanistan’s commitment to constitutionalism to the test. The events of the past six months also point to the need for clarity regarding the status of constitutional interpretation and judicial review, two necessary ingredients of constitutionalism that ensure the conformity of laws and government action with the constitution. Dysfunctional executive-legislature relations and ambiguities over matters of interpretation have often meant that disagreement over issues did not find prompt and effective solutions.
This article is structured with an introduction and six sections. The introduction takes a look, as already mentioned, at the developments after Karzai left office. The first section discusses the presidential system Afghanistan has adopted under the 2004 Constitution, and the succeeding two sections address constitutional interpretation and the question as to who has the power to interpret the Constitution. Sections four and five are devoted to a discussion of judicial review, and the conflict of jurisdiction over who has the power of judicial review in Afghanistan respectively. The
last section looks into the parliamentary powers with special reference to the use of the noconfidence vote by the Wolesi Jirga. This article concludes with a brief reflection back on the post-Karzai developments, the hitherto unmet challenges over constitutional issues Afghanistan is faced with, and the way forward toward solutions.
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