Parliament vote ruins Karzai's holiday

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Parliament vote ruins Karzai's holiday

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The Afghan parliament is about to start a month’s recess but it will be no holiday for President Hamid Karzai.

He needs to find a raft of new cabinet ministers after lawmakers rejected 17 out of 24 of his first choices.

Analysts describe the president as “politically weakened and humbled”.

Opposition leader, Abdullah Abdullah, who lost last year’s disputed presidential poll, said it is yet another defeat for Karzai.

“I think he lost in the general election he lost in introducing his cabinet whether he admits it or not that is a different issue, but I think it was a clear vote of no confidence,” he commented.

Parliament did back Karzai’s choice for defence minister, Abdul Rahim Wardak, an anti-Soviet veteran popular with the US, and Pashtun technocrat and humanitarian worker, Hanif Atmar, as Interior Minister.

But it rejected other big names as it exercised a rare occasion to flex its muscles.

Karzai’s re-election was seeped in controversy and his cabinet list was attacked as including too many old names despite pledges of a fresh start.

And even the new names were criticised as having been picked for reasons other than their competency.