Alleged fraud in deputy speaker’s election being probed
Zahir Qadir, former first deputy speaker of Wolesi Jirga (lower house of parliament), was re-elected to the position on Saturday.
Earlier, Abdul Rauf Inami, a lawmaker from Badakhshan province, was elected as secretary to Wolesi Jirga and Erfanullah Erfan as deputy secretary.
In three rounds of voting, Qadir, Mirwais Yasini, Abdul Hafiz Mansoor and Abdul Qadir Zazai, Humayoon Humayoon and Zakria Zakriaran for the first deputy speaker, but none could reach the 50+1 threshold.
On Saturday, Hamidzai Lalai and Saleh Mohammad Saljuqi ran for the position. But both Lalai (89 votes) and Saljuqi (68) fell short of the target. As many as 193 MPs took part in voting.
After the candidates’consecutive failures to win, re-election takes place between the two top vote-getters in accordance with the house’s internal procedures.
Humayoon, who had obtained 99 votes and Qadir 93 in the previous round, vied for the first deputy speaker’s position which went to Qadir, who bagged 138 votes against his rival.
But Hamidzai Lalai, during Sunday’s session, claimed fraud in the race between his and Saljuqi. Erfanullah Erfan, deputy secretary, counted blank ballots in favour of Saljuqi, he alleged.
He said the number of Wolesi Jirga members present on Saturday was put at 209. But in fact, he added, 210 lawmakers were present. Lalai maintained he was one of the top two candidates to run for the fourth round of elections for the first deputy speaker. He asked the administrative board to investigate the issue.
On the other hand, Erfan denied any fraud, saying if the charge was proved, he would resign from his position besides quitting his Wolesi Jirga membership.
But another lawmaker from Kunduz province said there was no fraud in the elections. She and other members of parliament asked for an investigation of the issue.
Based on the complaint, SpeakerAbdul Rauf Ibrahimi tasked a five-member team with investigating possible fraud. Abdul Sattar Darzabi, Shinkai Karokhel, Kamal Nasir Osuli, Abdul Qayyum Sajjadi and Mohammad Sarwar Osmani were appointed as members of the team.
Nazir Ahmad Ahmadzai, Abdul Qayyum Sajjadi, Farida Hamidi, Ahmad Behzad, Farhad Siddiqui and Akbar Stanikzai ran for the second deputy speaker in the previous rounds, but none was able to secure more than 50 percent of votes.
Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi had said the top two candidates -- Niamatullah Ghafari with 105 votes and Haji Nazir Ahmad Ahmadzai with 89 -- would compete in the second round of voting on Sunday (today).
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