MPs make no progress to end rift on house speaker

KABUL (TOLO News): The disagreements between two groups of MPs over the election of the speaker of the Wolesi Jirga, the Lower House of Parliament, are still evident eight days after they attended controversial voting on May 18.

The MPs voted for two candidates – Mir Rahman Rahmani, an MP from Parwan, and Kamal Nasir Osuli, an MP from Paktia – for the seat of the speaker. After the voting, the former acting speaker of the house Atta Mohammad Dehqanpoor announced Rahmani as the new speaker as he got 123 votes and his rival got 55 votes. However, the result was not accepted by Osuli and his supporters.

Legislators close to Rahmani said the discussions have ended because Rahmani was elected as Parliament speaker by a majority of votes.

“We issued a statement based on which (Mir Rahman) Rahmani is the speaker of the house and we accept no other deal or action in this regard,” said Mir Haidar Afzali, an MP.

“There are a number of MPs who want the administrative board election to be held again so that they will have the chance to nominate themselves. Also, there are some other MPs who are provoking the issue because of money and other similar issues and some other lawmakers are adding ethnic-related issues to this matter,” said Zahiruddin Jan Agha, an MP.

On the election day on May 18, there were 247 MPs when the voting started and based on this quorum, 124 votes were needed for a winning candidate, but 244 MPs cast their votes at the end of voting. Based on the last quorum, 123 votes were needed for a winning candidate but the missing votes from the total 247 MPs turned the process controversial.

The problem continued and later on, the lawmakers formed a 27-member committee to resolve the disputes.

Belqis Roshan, an MP, labeled the house’s situation “shameful”.

“Both parties who claim they are elected by the people, who claim they defend the people’s rights should be ashamed of the disagreements,” Roshan said.

Osuli, however, said Saturday’s election was “full of fraud” and that the votes should be announced invalid.

“I precisely say that on the Saturday election between me and Rahmani, none of us got 50+1 votes. The election was full of corruption. Thus, we will go for another election,” Osuli added.

Some other MPs, meanwhile, said that Osuli got very few votes and that he cannot nominate himself in the administrative board election for the next round.

“(Kamal Nasir) Osuli has nothing else to say. He has got 55 votes which are not the majority of the votes and he cannot nominate himself neither for administrative board nor for speaker seat or for deputies and secretary (of the house),” said Khan Agha Rezaee, an MP.

Some senators in the Meshrano Jirga, the Upper House of the Parliament, on Saturday said the continuation of the rift in the Wolesi Jirga, the Lower House of Parliament, has negatively impacted the activities of the Senate.

“At least 100 legislative documents are awaiting the joint commissions’ decision. Unfortunately, so far we have been unable to make a decision on them,” said Faisal Sami, Secretary of the Senate.