Afghan parliament votes on Karzai's new cabinet nominees
Afghanistan's parliament began voting Saturday on cabinet nominees of Hamid Karzai, after most of his choices were rejected in a first round, DPA reported.
In an unprecedented move, the lower house of parliament rejected 17 - or 70 per cent - of the president's nominees earlier this month, prolonging the two months of political uncertainty since Karzai was elected for a second term in November.
Only seven key ministers, including the defence, interior and finance portfolios, got votes of confidence in the first round. Parliament was scheduled to vote on a new lineup of 17 nominees including the foreign minister on Saturday.
During more than a week of hearings, legislators complained that the new nominees were even less qualified than the previous ones, and said that most were selected because of their ties with major political power brokers.
Lawmakers said more than half of the new ministers would not be able to get the approval of the parliament on Saturday. They said one of the nominees, the would-be minister for Rural Development, lied about his age in order to be eligible for the post.
Despite mounting pressure by the West to select of clean and competent ministers, Karzai seems to have chosen from among his political supporters who helped him get reelected.