MPs still divided over new parliament speaker

KABUL (TOLO News): Tensions remain high in Afghanistan’s parliament after some lawmakers brawled on Saturday over the election of a new speaker.

Opposing lawmakers with some supporting Kamal Nasir Osuli, a candidate for the seat of parliament speaker refused to endorse his rival candidate Mir Rahman Rahmani who was declared winner after a voting session on Saturday.

Meanwhile, a number of lawmakers have accused their colleagues of beating members of the security forces after they tried to stop them from entering the main hall.

Following the skirmish, some lawmakers managed to enter the house and decided to form a 27-member committee aimed at resolving the ongoing disputes.

Security personnel in charge with the security of parliament claimed that some lawmakers who appear to be supporters of Rahmani beaten them up after they tried to stop their entry inside the house.

This comes after a committee of 15 lawmakers was formed to solve the tension over the election of Rahmani as Speaker of the Wolesi Jirga, the Lower House of the Parliament.

Following the rifts on the new speaker, some footages, apparently captured by some lawmakers, were released on social media, showing angry MPs trying to stop the new speaker to take his seat.

Other footage showed that a group of female lawmakers occupying the speaker’s seat and calling for an interim speaker and re-election for the position.

New footage on Monday showed that the situation inside the house was tenser than the past two days.

But why the election of a new speaker became disputed?

On Saturday, 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.

“Even the speaker signed that initially there were 247 MPs in attendance,” said MP Khalid Momand.

“From a legal perspective, there isn’t an issue. There is no legal and principle issue. There is only technical problem which should be resolved,” said MP Ghulam Hussain Naseri.

Article 71 of internal affairs principles of the parliament states that based on the provisions of the Constitution, the approval of an issue entails the majority of those present, therefore, the majority shall be determined on the basis of the ballots used.

“The vote which is not used even the person or persons are present, but he did not use his ballot, whatever the reason is, he will not be counted as present. But the person who secured 123 votes out of 244 votes, is legally the winner in accordance with the internal affairs principles of the house,” said legal expert Waheed Farzaee.

What are the next legal steps to resolve the issue?

“We do not have other option except the law. There is a need to look at the archive of the parliament and find out whether 247 members were present on that day or it was less than that figure,” said legal expert Waheed Shereen Khan Habib.