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Nine nominees survive nerve-wracking confidence vote

KABUL: The Wolesi Jirga (WJ) or Lower House of the parliament on Wednesday approved nine cabinet picks and rejected 10 others in the nerve-wracking process of confidence vote.

Total 234 MPs were present in the session to cast vote in favor or against the nominees. Each nominated cabinet member required 122 votes of confidence to get the top slots for which they were designated.

Minister-designate for foreign affairs Salahudin Rabbani succeeded in getting 151 votes, nominee for the interior ministry Noorul Haq Ulomi got 131 votes, Muhammad Eklil Hakemi bagged 128 votes and became minister of finance, nominee for the public health ministry Ferozuden Feroz clinched 170 votes, Sayed Husain Aalemi Balkhi secured 134 votes and was approved as minister for refugees and repatriation, minister-designate for mines and petroleum Dawood Shah Saba got 146 votes, Nasir Ahmad Durani secured 145 votes as minister for Rural   Rehabilitation and Development, Faiz Muhammad Usmani got 160 votes  as minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs, and Rahmatullah Nabil was approved as the chief of National Directorate of Security as he secured 154 votes of confidence.

Meanwhile, nominee for the defense ministry Sher Muhammad Karimi, Sardar Muhammad Rahman Oghli  nominee for the  ministry of economy , minister-designate  for Higher Education Khatira  Afghan, ministerial nominee for Education Gul Muhammad Zalmai,  nominee for the telecommunication and information technology Barna Karimi, nominee for Public Works Ghulam  Abbas Basir, ministerial-nominee for Water and Energy Abdul Rahman Salahi, minister-designate for Commerce and Industries Sardar Muhammad Rahimi, pick for the transportation ministry Faizullah Zaki, and nominee for the border and tribal affairs Qamarudin Shinwari got not succeed in getting vote of confidence.

The government vowed to introduce at least four women as ministers, but finally it introduced only three. Two of the three women cabinet members were rejected; one for having dual citizenship and another by the MPs today. However, the remaining one was already rejected by the Wolesi Jirga before starting the process of confidence vote for not meeting the qualification criteria.

Speaker of the WJ announced names of the successful picks and said the lawmakers are going on their winter recess and will return after March 6, 2015.

The winter recess was announced at a time when most of the ministries are run by care-takers who are not working wholeheartedly due to limited authority. (Abdul Zuhoor Qayomi)

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