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    Lawmakers vote in speaker's election

    KABUL (PAN): As four people withdrew their candidature, five others jumped into the race for Wolesi Jirga speaker on Wednesday. The election got under way at about 10.30am.

    Khalil Ahmad Shaheedzada, Abdul Hafiz Mansoor, Abdul Latif Pidram and Sharif Kamawal opted out of the contest, without giving any reason.

    The new candidates are Baktash Siawash, Sayed Ishaq Gilani, Huma Sultani, Siddique Ahmad Osmani and Obaidullah Ramin. The election result is expected shortly.

    On Saturday, former speaker Yunus Qanuni, Abdur Rab Rasul Sayyaf, Mirwais Yasini and Zahir Qadir ran for the slot. Qanuni and Sayyaf qualified for the second round, but neither was able to win the required number of vote.

    Under Article 8 of the Code of Conduct for the Wolesi Jirga, deputy speakers and secretaries of the Wolesi Jirga can contest the election for a third time. But there is no provision for the speaker's election going to the third round.

    Following a detailed debate, legislators agreed to hold a fresh  election on Wednesday, Feb. 2, instead of amending the relevant rules.

    am/mud