News - Afghanistan
The Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) adjourned on Wednesday for their 45-day summer recess, despite the fact that a number of important legislative tasks before them remain incomplete.
There were reportedly four laws waiting for approval in the Lower House when lawmakers left for vacation. In addition, the MPs failed to vote on the national unity government's nominees for the Minister of Defense, Supreme Court and Attorney General posts.
More broadly, criticism of the Lower House has abounded as lawmakers have failed to make quorum in recent weeks, with more than 60 MPs leaving the country for Saudi Arabia to perform the Umrah Hajj. In fact, the Lower House has held just two sessions in the past two weeks.
"A number of lawmakers have forgotten the commitments they have made to their constituents," MP Hafiz Mansoor said on Wednesday.
"Fulfilling their commitments is more important than going to the Umrah Hajj; their one hour presence in the Lower House is more important than performing the Umrah Hajj. They have broken their promises. Those who are not fulfilling their promises should be sacked and other people should replace them."
MP Farida Hamidi directed her criticism directly at the senior leadership in the House of Representatives. "At such a critical time, the Administrative Board has traveled abroad for their enjoyment," she said. "They have closed Parliament's doors before the summer recess, and this is a national treason."
While Kabul MP Nazifa Zaki said the reason so many important pieces of legislation and appointments are delayed is because of the continued absences of her colleagues, others, such as the Lower House's Second Deputy, Nazir Ahmad Ahmadzai, maintained is more of a procedural issue.
"We needed to talk through a number of laws," Ahmadzai said. "We needed the commissions, and we did not have the general session in our agenda. That's why the sessions were not held over the past two weeks."