MPs elect 1st deputy speaker, deputy secretary
KABUL (Pajhwok): A day after reconvened, the Wolesi Jirga on Sunday elected lawmakers Haji Zahir Qadir and Iranullah Irfan as first deputy speaker and deputy secretary respectively, but contenders for the slots of second deputy speaker and secretary failed to obtain the required number of votes.
Under Article 87 of the Constitution, the assembly elects from among its members one as speaker for a five year term at the start and two members as first and second deputy secretary and another two members as secretary and his deputy for a period of one year at the start of every new session.
The lower house, which returned from a 45-day winter break, was inaugurated by President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday, delivering a speech, in which he praised Afghan security forces and promised to introduce more cabinet nominees soon to parliament for their approval.
Qadir, a powerful figure from eastern Nangarhar province, and MP Siddique Ahmad Osmai vied for the first deputy speaker position. Qadir bagged 118 and his rival 60 from the 119 lawmakers present. Each candidate was required to collect at least 100 votes from the assembly.
Lawmaker Saleh Mohammad Saljoqi won 79 votes and his rival Syed Ali Kazmi 92, both falling short of the required threshold in the contest for the second deputy speaker.
Under the house internal procedures, another round of voting on the same position would take place tomorrow (Monday) among new contenders.
Syed Ikram, Abdul Rauf Inami, Abdul Qadir Qalatwal and Hela Irshad vied for the secretary slot, but none could obtain the required number of votes.
Ikram with 39 votes and Imami with 75 votes made it to the second round of voting scheduled to take place tomorrow.
Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said the contest between Ikram and Inami was delayed to Monday because some lawmakers had left the house, leaving the quorum incomplete.
Irfan contested the election for the deputy secretary slot unopposed and bagged 198 votes in an open ballot. Only one vote went again him.
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