Ambassador Potzel Meets the Network of Afghan Constitutionalists in Kabul

Max Planck Foundation organises discussion on current constitutional development

The new German Ambassador to Afghanistan, Markus Potzel, met with the Network of Afghan Constitutionalists on 18 September 2014 to discuss various matters of constitutional law. The network, which was set up by the Max Planck Foundation and the Hamida Barmaki Organization, is made up of 30 experts with the shared goal of improving the Afghan Constitution and developing ideas to this end. The members of the network have a diverse range of backgrounds: amongst them are representatives of civil society (such as human rights activists and journalists), high-ranking governmental representatives, academics and religious scholars. Supporters of both candidates in the 2014 presidential election are represented in the network along with supporters of previous governments.

During their discussion with Ambassador Potzel, network members outlined their expectations in relation to the constitutional reforms announced by the presidential candidates Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah. Important points included a well-balanced division of powers, the establishment of an institution for settling constitutional disputes, greater legitimation of state authority, at district and province levels in particular, and the effective protection of basic rights. They also discussed the process of constitutional amendments. The discussion was moderated by representatives of the Hamida Barmaki Organization and the Max Planck Foundation, Sayed Hameed Zia and Tilmann Röder.

In the coming months, the network will develop its positions in relation to these matters in order to present them to the country’s new government and the Afghan public. With this aim in mind, the Max Planck Foundation regularly invites members of the network to Heidelberg to work on these issues. Experts from the Foundation and other institutions support the network in these efforts.

The support of the network by the Max Planck Foundation and the Hamida Barmaki Organization is made possible through financing from the German Foreign Office.