Private Sector to Elect Provincial and National Leadership
The new Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) is preparing the largest ever business community elections in the country. Mohammad Qurban Haqjo, CEO of the national chamber, explained in a meeting on June 6, 2008, that all registered members in 21 provinces will be invited to vote for their delegates to the national ACCI High Council in July, 2008. Voters include members of the former Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI), the former Afghan International Chamber of Commerce (AICC), and a large number of business people who were previously not affiliated with either chamber. The former chambers had decided in a March 2008 Joint Assembly to merge both organizations and hold elections as soon as possible.
The national and all provincial chambers of commerce are currently validating their membership lists and accepting new membership applications. Voter lists are being prepared. According to ACCI Membership Director Fraidoon Watanyar, more than 10,000 voters were already registered by June 6, 2008. At the current rate of membership applications and verification, about 12,000 members are expected to cast their votes in July and elect more than 120 delegates for the national High Council. The High Council will then convene in Kabul in August to elect the new Board of Directors of ACCI.
Key objective of the merger and the elections is the creation of an ACCI High Council that is accepted and supported by a strong majority of the Afghan business community as their leading representative organ, and that is also able to build opinions and make majority decisions internally, to then unanimously advocate these decisions externally.
The ACCI Board of Directors has established an election schedule for the economically active provinces, as well as procedures for the nomination of candidates and the actual voting. Nomination and elections will be free, fair, and transparent. The event will be a unique opportunity to introduce democratic procedures many members are not yet familiar with.