The appointment of Abdul Qadir Zazai Watandost, a former MP and a parliamentary candidate from Kabul, as head of the secretariat of the Wolesi Jirga, the Lower House of Parliament, by President Ashraf Ghani has been criticized by a number of lawyers as they said it is in contravention of the country’s Constitution.
Watandost’s appointment was announced in a decree by President Ghani’s office on Monday.
Ghani’s move was criticized as the final results of parliamentary elections for Kabul have not been announced but Watandost has been appointed to a key post in the Afghan parliament.
Ghani inaugurated the 17th legislative round of the parliament on Friday, April 26, but the results of five provinces, including Kabul, are yet to be announced by the Independent Election Commission.
“The Afghan parliament is a pillar of the government and is independent in its affairs,” Rohullah Sakhi, a Kabul-based lawyer told TOLOnews. “(Abdul Qadir Zazai)Watandost is a protesting candidate and his fate is not known and it is not clear what will happen to Kabul votes. Therefore, President Ghani’s decree can be in contravention of the law.”
One member of Afghanistan’s Lawyers Union said that based on the law, the speaker of the Wolesi Jirga should suggest a nominee for the secretariat of the house and President has the authority to reject or accept it. But this time, lawyers said, the move has been taken one-sided.
Watandost is replacing Khodai Nazar Nusrat, who is accused of corruption and his case is in the court, but he is out of the country. Sources said that Nusrat sent his resignation letter from abroad in February.
“Based on Article 54 of the Constitution and based on Article 13 of the principles parliament’s internal duties, the parliament speaker has the authority to suggest a nominee as head of the secretariat of the house and the president can approve it. It means that if the president directly acts on appointing parliament’s head ofsecretariat, it is in contravention of the principles of the parliament’s internal duties,” said Abdul Wahid Farzaee, member of the union.
The Presidential Palace has not commented on this report.
This comes as the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) on Sunday, April 28, rejected the results of the recounted votes of parliamentary election for Kabul for “widespread fraud” in the recounting process.
The initial results of the parliamentary election for Kabul were invalidated by the former leadership of the commission last December and the recounting process started in mid-December.
The IECC spokesman Mohammad Qasim Elyasi told reporters in Kabul that there has been widespread fraud in the recounting process of the Kabul votes, therefore the initial results of Kabul parliamentary election are credible for them.
The commission said that the invalidation of the votes will be considered if the “stalemate” is not broken by this option.