New speaker seeks help from MPs
The Wolesi Jirga, or lower house of Parliament, elected public representative of Uzbek descent from northern Kunduz province, Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi, as its speaker with a majority vote.
Of the 173 lawmakers present during the session, 129 raised their green cards in favour of Ibrahimi, who replaces Yunus Qanuni.
Coming a month after the assembly's inauguration, the election took place in accordance with a special commission's recommendation for picking an Uzbek community member as speaker.
In his maiden speech, Ibrahimi urged legislators to cooperate with him in running lower house affairs effectively. "I don't deserve this position. Since you have reposed trust in me, I expect cooperation from you."
He asked members to pass laws that were not in conflict with Islamic values, international standards and Afghanistan's constitution.
Ibrahimi was assured of all-out support by lawmakers, including Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf, former speaker Yunus Qanuni and Mohammad Mohaqiq.
Under the lower house's rules, a speaker shall be elected through independent and transparent voting.
A member from southeastern Paktika province, Nadar Khan Katawazai, said there was no legal problem in conducing Sunday's election.
He added there was no constitutional provision for the speaker being elected unopposed, but it was the sole way to resolve the deadlock.
Belonging to Imam Sahib district of Kunduz, the speaker is the son of former Takhar governor, Abdul Latif Ibrahimi. He once served as a key jihadi commander in the north.
During the session, legislators also discussed the election of deputy speaker, as well as first and second secretaries.
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