While more than half of the ministries of the National Unity Government (NUG) are still managed by caretakers in the third year of its five-year term, there are signs of an emerging confrontation between the president and Wolesi Jirga, the lower house of parliament. President Ghani has reportedly warned ministers-designate of terminating their nomination if they enter any deal with lawmakers to secure trust vote. In response to the statements, public representatives have said parliament was not “the place of thieves”, and instead the president has been encircled by thieves and spies.
The current discord between the government and Wolesi Jirga can further delay the already procrastinated introduction of nominees to the lower house for a vote of confidence. If Wolesi Jirga and the president don’t use rationality, more than half of the cabinet, including some key ministries such as national defense, interior affairs, foreign affairs and mines and petroleum, will still be held by caretakers in the government’s fourth year.
While the disagreement between the president and chief executive officer was viewed as a major obstacle to cabinet completion, the new dispute between the government and Wolesi Jirga can be another major challenge. It is right that the lawmakers make deals with ministers-designates in return for trust vote, but the blame game cannot help solve the problem. Given the country’s tense security, political and economic situation, the president and public representatives better avoid personal considerations, and complete the cabinet before the situation further deteriorates.
While there are still questions about the legitimacy of National Unity Government and Wolesi Jirga, their clash can weaken the regime, and erode the already corroded trust of people in the government. Until new election is held, and both the government and national assembly get replaced through the votes of people, there is a serious need for proper and law-based coordination between them. Neither side should ignore this necessity in the current critical juncture the country is going through.