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Finally, parliament gets speaker

AT News Report

KABUL: After ending month-long disputes, Wolesi Jirga members on Saturday finally elected Mir Rahman Rahmani as new speaker with major of votes.

Rahmani, a businessman and MP from Parwanprovince, and Khan Mohammad Wardak, an MP from Wardak province stood tocompete for the seat of speaker in run-off voting, in which Rahmani elected.

In the previous voting, Rahmani had received 123 votes and Wardak received 105 votes, which sent the voting to the run-off between them.

Rahmani received 136 votes and was elected as the new speaker of the house, as 123 votes were required. Wardak received 96 votes only.

Dispute over speaker of the seventh Afghanistan’s parliament unleased in the very first days of parliament as the members divided into two parties.

In the initial voting, Rahmani and Kamal Nasir Osoli, an MP from Khost province, ran for the speaker of the house.Rahmani received 123 votes, with one inked-vote. According to law, Mr. Rahmani had to receive 124 votes to be announced as speaker.

Acting speaker of the lower house had announced Rahmani as winner, but supporters of his rivals opposed electing Rahmani, protesting an inked-vote. The dispute lasted for almost two months. Osoli refused to recognize Rahmani as speaker.

Video footages from the lower house showed chaotic scenes erupted among the lawmakers on June 19 amid the weeks-long dispute over the inked-vote. Angry members of the Wolesi Jirga smashed the speaker’s chair and flipping his desk over to prevent businessman Rahmani from taking speaker’s seat.

The clash over Rahmani’s selection as speaker was televised and quickly video footages spread to social media, raising concerns and angers of citizens.

In response to the impasse, 15 MPs were assigned as committee to try to resolve the dispute, but the committee failed to make any progress.

The dispute raised concerns over the ability of Afghan lawmakers to agree over critical and sensitive issues amid holding Presidential election and peace talks with the Taliban.

The country scheduled presidential vote for September 28, over which already blame game has begun. Many presidential candidates accuse President Ashraf Ghani of misusing government resources.

On the hand, the Afghan government has been sidelined from U.S.-Taliban talks. The Taliban group refused to sit face-to-face with delegation of the Afghan government.

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