MPs support 3 presidential runners
KABUL (Pajhwok): Forty-four of 248 parliamentarians, interviewed by Pajhwok Afghan News over the past week, support front-line presidential runner Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.
Forty one lawmakers backDr. Zalmai Rassoul while as 39 support Dr. Abdullah Abdullah . Qayyum Karzai, brother of the incumbent president, is supported by 10 MPs, Prof. Abdul Rab Rassoul Sayyaf by 17 and Gul Agha Sherzai by 3.
But none of the parliamentarians, who spoke to Pajhwok, voiced their support for Qutbuddin Hilal, Abdul Rahim Wardak, Daud Sultanzoy, Hidayat Amin Arsala and Mohammad Nadir Naeem.
Last week, Pajhwok asked Wolesi Jirga and Meshrano Jirga members about which candidate they supported for the presidency. In line with their constitutional structure, the Wolesi Jirga has 269 members and the Meshrano Jirga 102.
But currently, the Wolesi Jirga strength stands at 246, having lost three of its members -- Abdul Mutalib Baig, Mohammad Hashim Watanwal and Shahnaz Himmati. Their replacements are yet to be notified.
Senators Suleman Yari and Maulvi Arsala Rahmani have also lost their lives, but their replacements have already been introduced to the upper house.
Pajhwok did all it could to ascertain the views of all 348 lawmakers, but it was able to contact 250 of them. Thirty-six of them, including eight senators, supported Ahmadzai.
They include Topeka Patman, Shinkai Karokhel, Ramazan Jumazada, Farkhanda Zahra Naderi, Mohammad Wali Alizai, Abdul Jabbar Qahraman, Mohammad Naeem Hamidzai, Asadullah Sadati, Sima Joyenda, Ruqiya Nail, Naqibullah Faiq, Bashir Ahmad Tinj, Inayatullah Babar, Aziz Jalis, Syed Anwar Sadat, Nadir Khan Katawazai, Sahira Sharif, Humayun Humayun, Liaqat Ali Babakarkhel, Nawab Mangal, Mohammad Ibrahim Ghakhtalai, Sidiqa Mubarez, Abdul Zahir Qadeer, Faridoon Momand, Arin Yoon, Syed Daud Naderi, Syed Mansoor Naderi, Gulalai Noor Safi, Nasima Niazi, Mohammad Ali Alizada, Chaman Shah Itimadi, Khuda Dad Irfani, Shah Gul Rezayee, Shakiba Hashimi, Gul Padshah Majidi and Najia Babakarkhel.
Similarly, the senator supporting Ahmadzai are: Sibghatullah Mujaddedi, Saleha Maharzada, Siffatullah Haqmal, Abdul Baqi Baryal, Farida Kochai, Haji Lutfullah Baba, Mohammad Ismail Munshi and Mohammad Amin Ahmadi.
Wolesi Jirga member from Baghlan province Syed Mansoor Naderi called Ghani an intelligent and decisive man, with the ability to build a brilliant future for the country.
39 public representatives, including eight senators, are supportive of Abdullah. They are: Mohammad Yunus Qanuni, Abdul Hafiz Mansoor, Syed Ali Kazimi, Allah Gul Mujahid, Ahmad Behzad, Samiullah Samim, Mohammad Sarwar Osmani, Qazi Abdul Rahim, Khair Mohammad, Abdur Rahman Shaidani, Ali Ahmad Shahidi, Mir Rahman Rahmani, Dr. Zahir Sadat, Hazrat Ali, Pir Bakhash Gardiwal, Abdul Ghaffar, Asmatullah Shinwari, Abdul Latif Pidram, Syed Ikram Masoomi, Mohammad Azim Mohseni, Mohammad Abda, Alam Khan Azadi, Ahmad Shah Ramazan, Abbas Abrahim zada, Mohammad Ishaq Rahguzar, Asadullah Sharifi, Abdur Rahman Rahmani, Mohammad Farhad Azimi, Saifura Naizai, Breshna Rabi and Ali Akbar Qasimi.
In the upper house, Abdullah enjoys the backing of Habibur Rahman, Abdul Sattar Iffat, Abdul Wali Raji, Lailuma Ahmadi, Haji Majeed, Maulvi Mahmood Danishjo, Maulvi Mohammad Faizi and Noor Mohammad Kafil Noori.
Mohammad Sarwar Osmani, a Wolesi Jirga member from Farah province, saw Abdullah as a leader who could better address the challenges facing Afghanistan.
Eight senators and 33 assembly members supported Rassoul. The senators are Rafiullah Gul Afghan, Syed Farrukh Shah Janab, Humaira Niamat, Rana Tarin, Sara Surkhabi, Arifullah Pashtun, Mohammad Daud Ghaffari and Najiba Hussaini.
Also lending their weight to Rassoul are Wolesi Jirga members Mohammad Hashim Mehdi, Fatima Nazari, Jafar Mehdawi, Ihsan Sahibzada, Sher Wali Wardak, Rahima Jami, Nisar Ahmad Ghoryani, Mohammad Raza Khushk Watan Dost, Farida Hamidi, Fariba Kakar, Abdul Qader Qalatwal, Syed Mohammad Daud, Ghulam Sarwar Faiz, Hamida Akbari, Abdul Sattar Khawasi, Mohammad Almas Zahid, Samia Aziz, Siddique Ahmad Osmani, Zakia Sangin, Tahira Mujaddedi, Mohammad Iqbal Safi, Haji Agha Jan, Saleh Mohammad, Sakhi Mashwani, Mirwais Yasini, Syed Ikram, Lailuma Wali Hakami, Dilawar Aimaq, Mohammad Arif Shah Jehan, Mohammad Arif Rahmani, Nafisa Sultani, Yosif Sabir and Hamida Ahmadzai.
Lailuma Wali Hakami, representing Nangarhar province in the lower house, believed Rassoul could steer Afghanistan out of crisis because he was an internationally recognised politician. He could also muster global aid, she said.
Ten Wolesi Jirga members supporting Sayyaf are: Daud Kalkani, Zamarak Padkhwabi, Anwar Khan Oryakhel, Izzatullah Atif, Nazir Ahmad Hanafi, Mohammad Arif Tayyeb, Karamuddin Razazada, Abdul Sattar Darzabi, Abdul Ahmad Durrani and Allah Nazar Turkmen.
In the Senate, Sayyaf’s backers are: Fazal Hadi Muslimyar, Rafiullah Haideri, Abdul Hanan Haqyun, Obaidullah Turkmen, Mohammad Osman Rahmani, Mukaram Khan Nasiri and Nazar Mohammad Faqiri.
Obaidullah Turkmen threw his weight behind Sayyaf, saying the candidate had been in Afghanistan through difficult times. Being a jihadi commander, Sayyaf could better address the country’s myriad problems, he felt.
Qayyum Karzai is supported by eight Wolesi Jirga members: Mir Wali, Mohammad Omar Nangyalai, Abdul Khaliq Bala Karzai, Mullah Syed Mohammad Akhund, Obaidullah Barakzai, Fathullah Qaisari, Saifura Elkhani, and Malim Chari. Senators Niamatullah Popal and Syed Aqa Hussain Hashimi also back him.
Senator Malim hailed Karzai as an experienced economist, who could resolve Afghanistan’s economic problems.
MPs Ustad Mohammad Akbari, Fakoori Beheshti and Sharifullah Kamawal are behind Gul Agha Sherzai, the former Nangarhar governor. Akbari said Sherzai had proved as governor that he could rebuild the country.
Of the 248 MPs interviewed, 52 Wolesi Jirga members and 38 senators said they had not yet decided on supporting any presidential aspirant. They will take a decision in this regard once they have evaluated the candidates’ manifestos and plans.
Still undecided are Wolesi Jirga members Rubaba Parwani, Mohammad Farhad Siddiqui, Qais Hassan, Obaidullah Kalimzai, Nazifa Zaki, Fareshta Amini, Ahmad Farhad Majidi, Najla, Dehqanzad, Ghulam Farooq Majrooh, Khalil Ahmad Shaheedzada, Abdul Saboor Khidmat, Abdulhai Akhundzada, Shirin Mohseni, Abdur Rahim Raheel, Sheikh Niamatullah Ghafari, Habiba Sadat, Nasima Niazi, Safia Aimaq, Rangina Kargar, Baz Mohammad Jawzjani, Syed Mohammad Hussain Sharifi, Fazal Azim Mujaddedi, Safiullah Muslim, Fauzia Raufi, Mirbat Khan Mangal, Ghulam Hussain Nasiri, Abdul Majid Wardak, Parwin Durrani, Ahmadullah Mowahid, Naqibullah, Wagma Safi, Zufnoon Safi, Mohammad Alam Qarar, Mohammad Hasan Mamozai, Samia Aziz Khogyani, Fauzia Kofi, Amanullah Paiman, Nilofar Ibrahimi, Abdul Rauf Inami, Zakria Sauda, Abdul Wali Niazi, Abdul Baqi, Fatima Azizi, Shaista Baz Nasiri, Obaidullah Ramin, Ashiqullah Wafa, Mohiuddin Mehdi, Shukria Issakhel, Habibur Rahman Afghan, Mohammad Nazir Ahmadzai and Ashiqullah.
Also undecided are Senators Allah Dad Andar, Baz Mohammad Zurmati, Balqis Roshan, Behram Khan Samkani, Juma Din Gayanwal, Hazrat Shah Nuristani, Khaliqdad Balaghi, Khan Mohammad Khagi, Jan Mohammadullah Yar, Khair-ul-Nisa Ghamai, Roshan Alkozai, Saraj-ul-Din Safari, Syed Mohammad Saeedi, Syed Sadat Nasiri, Shifqa Noorzakhel, Abdul Ahad Sultanzoy, Abdul Shakoor Shakoor, Aziza Musleh, Gul Ahmad Azami, Gulalai Akbari, Mohammad Amin Safi, Mohammad Din Hamdard, Asif Zada, Mir Bahadur Wasifi, Hussain Sadiqi Parwani, Mir Hamdullah Munib, Nafisa Sultani, Wahida Safi, Hidayatullah Ahmadzai, Heela Achakzai, Bakht Bibi Rahimi, Syed Mohammad and Mohammad Khalid Jafari.
Four Wolesi Jirga members -- Ramazan Bashardost, Baktash Siawash, Qudratullah Sahak and Mullah Tarakhel Mohammadi -- said they supported no candidate.
Outspoken Bashardost said he would not swing behind any presidential runner, because none of them deserved the top political office.
On the other hand, Senator Zalmai Zabuli was unwilling to disclose the name of his favourite runner to the media. Cell phones of 64 parliamentarians remained switched off; 33 did not answer calls and representatives of three others said they were abroad.
Mohammad Jafar Wahidyar, a political analyst, said support from parliamentarians could boost the vote bank of a candidate to a large extent. “Each MP has a large following and the support of one lawmaker could be instrumental.”
He hoped the legislators would lend their weight to a contender who had an effective strategy for putting the country on the road to stability and prosperity.
But Shahla Farid, a teacher at the Political Science Faculty of Kabul University, said political support was often based on deals. “MPs shouldn’t pressure their constituents to vote for runners of their choice…”
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