More than half of Hamid Karzai’s new nominees for cabinet posts have been rejected by the Afghan parliament. In this new vote, 10 of 17 new nominees were rejected (photo, from bbc.co.uk). This vote came two weeks after MPs turned down most of Karzai’s first choices.
Among the approved nominees were key posts : Karzai’s former security adviser Zalmay Rasul as foreign minister and Habibullah Ghalib as justice minister.
Amina Afzali is the only woman, out of three nominated, who has been backed by MPs, as work and social affairs minister.
The two women who were rejected were put forward for the posts of public health and women’s affairs.
According to BBC’s Mark Dummett, in Kabul, president Karzai had hoped to have his new cabinet in place before a crucial donor conference in London on 28 January, but that now appears impossible.
Despite the setback, the Afghan president now has 14 of 24 ministers confirmed, among which are the most powerful ones in charge of foreign, defence and interior ministries.
When the president will propose names in order to fill the vacant positions and when Parliament will vote for these new candidates remains unclear.
In reaction to the first vote on 2 January, president Karzai ordered MPs to cancel their winter break in order to speed up progress towards getting a functioning government in place.
The rejection of 17 of Mr Karzai’s 24 original choices was seen as a blow to his authority, which was already damaged after an election marred by fraud in August.
None of the previously rejected nominees were on the new list.
For the last week, MPs questioned the new candidates ahead of Saturday’s vote, which was carried out by secret ballot.
Some MPs had complained that candidates were not suitably qualified or that others were too closely aligned to warlords.
The re-elected president faces strong international pressure to create a government that can oversee reforms.
International funding for Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections this year will depend on reform of the country’s election institutions, said the UN.