The Wolesi Jirga -- or the lower house of parliament -- on Tuesday unanimously gave approval to Mohammad Yunus Qanuni as first-vice president.
Qanuni, a former speaker and interior minister, replace Marshal Qasim Fahim, who died earlier this month at the age of 57 and was laid to rest in the Deh Kepak area.
Karzai chose Qanuni as Fahim’s successor and referred him to the lower house for a vote of confidence. In the president’s presence, a majority of lawmakers voted in Qanuni’s favour.
Karzai called the death of Fahim a huge loss to the nation and said finding his replacement had been problematic at the present juncture.
“Without any doubt, Fahim was a patriotic and brave Mujahid, as well as trusted friend,” remarked the president, who also reposed his confidence in Qanuni’s abilities.
Karzai said he had introduced Qanuni as his first deputy to the Wolesi Jirga for a trust vote under Article 67 of the Constitution.
The article says if a vice president resigns or dies, the president should name his/her replacement, which must be approved by the parliament.
Karzai said he had consulted leadership of the three state pillars, former jihadi commanders and politicians on Qanuni’s appointment.
He added the consultative sessions evolved around a few names and advisors finally agreed on Qanuni as a nominee for the slot. The president called on Wolesi Jirga members to endorse his nomination.
After the voting, Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi announced the house had overwhelmingly endorsed Qanuni as first VP.
In his speech, Qanuni said he could not match Fahim, whom he called the symbol of national unity and his leader. He thanked Karzai and the MPs for reposing trust in him.
“The august house has shown the nation that it could decide issues of national importance, despite negative propaganda,” remarked Qanuni, who vowed to work for strengthening national unity and meeting expectations of the Afghans.
He said his short tenure as VP would not let him do big things, but he would team up with MPs to keep the country from plunging into turmoil.
Qanuni said the nation and the government had a big challenge ahead in terms of credible elections, suggesting the electoral bodies should be assisted in holding inclusive and transparent polls.
Karzai said the elections were a legitimate right of the Afghans, who would exercise it. He added the vote was the first-ever in Afghanistan’s history marking the transfer of power from one elected government to another.