KABUL - Parliament on Monday announced a further 15-day delay in its summer recess, hoping that in that time, President Hamid Karzai would submit his nominations for cabinet and heads of independent organisations. The announcement came as lawmakers maintained their tenth consecutive day of silence in the"" Wolesi Jirga chamber, in protest of Karzai's failure to send the list of nominees to the house for a vote of trust.
The Wolesi Jirga members who were present in the chamber during the protest passed the time banging their desks, reading newspapers and having hushed private discussions.
Nearly two weeks back, lawmakers announced a 15-day delay in their summer recess to give Karzai time to finalize the list of nominations for cabinet and heads of independent organisations, including the Supreme Court judges.
Over the past 18 months, acting ministers have been heading the ministries of water and energy, women's affairs, urban development, transport and aviation, communications, and information technology.
Those individuals failed to obtain a vote of confidence from the MPs last year. Although the constitutional tenure of three Supreme Court judges has ended, Karzai has yet to appoint their successors, despite several reminders from legislators.
Karzai recently told a parliamentary delegation that a commission was working on the list, and that it would be sent to the house soon. The president asked lawmakers to go on their recess, but parliament chose to delay the month-long break to wait for Karzai to finalize his list.
Some legislators also are protesting because they seek the dissolution of the special election court that is investigating allegations of fraud linked to last year's parliamentary election. The court is due to deliver its verdict within two days.
Lawmakers at Monday's session vowed to continue their silence until the house rose for its month-long summer recess.
Obaidullah Ramin, a representative from northern Baghlan province, said that in spite of the protests, the house should continue discussing important issues of national interest, including the proposed Loya Jirga and a strategic cooperation agreement with the United States.
"We should include these topics in the house agenda," he said. His statement was supported by Fauzia Kufi, a lawmaker from northern Badakhshan province, and others. Kufi said they should achieve one of their goals before leaving for the recess.
"What will you tell your voters? What have we achieved so far?" she asked. "I will tell my supporters that I spent the last 15 days banging desks, and did nothing else," Kufi said. (Pajhwok)