Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, August 18th, 2019

Afghan parliament Brawls over Electing new Speaker

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Afghan parliament Brawls over  Electing new Speaker

Today the local media, especially the social media networks vastly posted photos and comments that showed hot news and scene of physical clashes in the newly inaugurated parliament of the country. One of the lawmakers had hammer in his hand willing to attack the opposite group but another crowded group were trying to control the attacker. This way, they were engaged in physical fighting after verbal clashes that had happened over electing new speaker in their first day of general session on Sunday. A group of lawmakers, many of them women, blocked the Parliament’s newly appointed speaker from taking his seat but others were angry to introduce the winner as a new speaker; at last the security forces interfered and dispatched them after a scuffle broke out.
Talking to TOLOnews, a Kabul MP Ramazan Bashardost said the controversy in the parliament over the election of the new speaker can be solved through legitimate ways, but he says the lawmakers “are not willing to address the issue through legal channels”. Thus, a number of citizens likened them to a group of wide animal in jungle still fighting for their packet and tribe while the world has reached on the pinnacle of advancement. Thus, a group of university students who were talking about the event said, “We wish there were some ones who shoot all of them because this generation cannot think beyond their tribe and personal interests.”
According to the interim parliamentary administrations, 247 representatives were present in the House Hall on Saturday. Based on Article 8 of the internal principle, 50+1 of the votes are required for incumbent of speakership position. Rahmani and Osuli were nominated for this seat, and each orderly won 123 votes and 55 votes while 53 votes were invalid, 13 abstentions and 3 were missing. The argument started among the representatives over the three missing votes. Those who said Mir Rahman Rahmani had low vote they calculated 50+1 from 247 individuals who signed the attendance but others calculated from 244 votes which were cast in the ballot box.
So, based on the internal principle of parliament 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.
Referring to the past procedure of the parliament, a number of former MPs believe that Mir Rahman Rahmani is the winner of the election and should be the new speaker of the parliament.  For instance, Nematullah Ghaffari, a former representative of the Helmand in the parliament, as quoted said Rahmani was the winner of the elections based on the mentioned procedure.  According to him, in many cases, ballot boxes did not match with the number of MPs that were present, and so the difference has fluctuated from one to four votes. He added that in the past, when this difference was made, the “votes were considered as criteria which came out of the ballot box not the number of people who were present and this way the controversy ended”.
Nematollah Ghaffari says now it is possible to implement this procedure, although there is no direct reference to the internal principles of the parliament. It is so logical that the majority of votes are calculated from the votes which cast in ballot box not the people who just signed the attendance sheet.  As it is possible one or few MPs go out during voting or not use their vote due to some reasons. He concludes that Mir Rahman Rahmani has gained 51+1 from the total votes which were cast in the ballot box, and so there is no need for arguments he is the winner of election.
On the other hand, a number of representatives believe that the internal rule of parliament does not allow accepting Rahmani as a speaker. “I am not supporting Osuli or Rahmani,” Maryam Sama, a member of Parliament from Kabul, wrote on her Facebook page. “I protested to show that I am not in the Parliament to get rich or to support an ethnic group. With respect to both these colleagues, the Afghan Parliament could have a better speaker.” Mariam Sulaimankhail, a lawmaker who represents the Kochi tribal community, posted on her Twitter account: “It’s not about Osuli or Rahmani! It’s about the law; I will always be on the law’s side.”  Rahmani has not gained the majority of the votes, that’s why he can not be the head of parliament. With referring to article 8 of the internal principle of parliament, she demands to repeat the election for appointment of speaker in the national house.
Finally, a committee of 15 lawmakers was formed to solve the tension over the election.  Khan Agha Rezaee, Ajmal Rahmani, Mirdad Nijrabi, Nahid Farid and Humayun Harirod are the five members of the committee from Rahmani’s side while Khan Mohammad Wardak, Jawed Safi, Sayed Ahmad Khadim, Razia Mangal and Abdul Rasheed Azizi are from Kamal Nasir Osuli. Meanwhile, five MPs, including Abdul Qayum Sajjadi, Irfanullah Irfan, Fraidoon Mohmand, Sediq Ahmad Osmani, and Mohammadullah Batash, are the impartial members of the committee. The committee’s work did not yield any result on Sunday; therefore, they decided to announce their decision on Monday.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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