Afghan parliament rejects second defense minister nominee

Lawmakers reject second candidate for key position of defence minister as Taliban attacks intensify

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Afghanistan's parliament rejected the appointment of, Mohammad Masoum Stanikzai as minister of defence on Saturday, the second nominee to be rejected, with Stanikzai only receiving 84 votes out of a required 107 votes. 

Two hundred and thirteen lawmakers attended the voting session. Other than the 84 parliamentarians who voted in favour of Stanikzai, 104 voted against the appointment and the remainder abstained, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported.

After nine months in office, President Ashraf Ghani failed to convince lawmakers to approve his choice for the defence ministry, even though Taliban's latest spring offensive is continuing with full force and the militants are making gains in the war-torn country.

Stanikzai is the third person to be nominated for the post of defence minister and the former peace representative has been in charge of Afghanistan’s army since May, when he was appointed as acting minister. 

The first nominee was rejected in January and the second dropped out before a parliamentary vote on his appointment. 

The majority of the lawmakers have called on Ghani to nominate a new candidate.

"Since Stanikzai failed to obtain 107 votes in his favour, therefore the lower house wants the president to introduce a new person for the post of defence minister," Chairman of the house, Abdul Rauf Ibrahim, reportedly said after the voting session.

TRTWorld and agencies