Many senators spend night inside Parliament
KABUL (Pajhwok): Some 30 to 40 outgoing senators spent the night between Wednesday and Thursday inside the Meshrano Jirga’s building to discuss a course of action how to prevent newly-elected members from taking oath.
One of them was Senate deputy chairman Rafiullah Gul Afghan, who told Pajhwok Afghan News they would not allow the oath ceremony for new senators until fraud in the April 5 provincial council elections was not properly investigated.
Last month, provincial councils (PCs) elected their senatorial candidates as required by the Constitution. One-third (34) members of the 102-member house are elected by district councils (one per province) for three-year terms.
One-third (34) by provincial councils (one per province) for four-year terms, and one-third (34) are nominated by the president for five-year terms.
However, elections for the district councils were not held in the 2005 parliamentary elections. Half of the presidential nominees have to be women, two representatives from the disabled and impaired and two from the Kuchis.
Gul Afghan said a number of outgoing senators, who contested the April election, had failed in their reelection bid due to widespread fraud.
“I and Zabul representative Mohammad Daud Asas are among several others whose rights have been denied by the two electoral bodies. If we are not returned our rights, we will not allow the new senators to be administered oath,” he warned.
Gul Afghan and Assas had led several protests in Kabul, accusing the election watchdog and the election commission of dropping them and some others from the final list in return for money despite their inclusion in the preliminary list among winning runners.
“All Senate members back our stance and support us in our legal campaign,” Gul Afghan said, who insisted their demand was legal. “We are doing no illegal job.”
He confirmed 30 to 40 senators spent last night inside the Senate building to discuss their rights and preventing the new members from taking oath.
“If necessary, all senators are ready to spend night with us in the national assembly,” he said, revealing that they would soon meet the president on the issue.
But Farhad Sakhi, a newly-elected senator from Kabul, said the swearing-in ceremony was scheduled for Saturday. “The Senate chairman has promised with us the ceremony will take place on Saturday,” he said.
He said what Gul Afghan was saying and doing was his personal matter. He said if new senators faced with such a situation, they would take a unanimous stance.
The provincial council elections were held simultaneously with the first round of presidential election on April 5.
But the presidential ballot did not produce a clear winner and a run-off race was called on August 14. However, the run-off election was marred by widespread fraud allegations, triggering a stalemate that lasted several months.
After being put on hold for seven months, the PC election results were announced on October 25 last year, with 97 women and 458 men winning seats on the councils nationwide.
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