In a clear signal to President Hamid Karzai that he cannot count on Parliament for support, lawmakers resoundingly rejected most of his nominees for cabinet posts and expressed discontent with the candidates’ competence.
Of Mr. Karzai’s 24 cabinet nominees, 17 were rejected and 7 approved. Of those who received votes of confidence, all but one are currently cabinet ministers.
The president’s office had no comment on Saturday’s vote; the deputy spokesman, Hamid Elmi, said a news conference would be held on Sunday.
After being declared the winner of an election tainted by fraud, Mr. Karzai has been under pressure from Western leaders and Afghan opposition figures to help make things right by choosing cabinet officials not linked to corruption or incompetence. Parliament’s action on Saturday made it clear that they felt he had not met those requirements.
In particular, they said that they were not consulted enough during the nomination process and that many cabinet nominees lacked the professional backgrounds necessary to do their jobs. However, ethnic politics were also in play, raising questions about whether lawmakers were primarily interested in being partisan defenders of their own ethnic constituencies, though many denied that that was a factor. [continued…]