Kabul: The formation of the cabinet of the Afghan national unity government has been delayed by two to four more weeks, media reported Monday.
After his inauguration Sep 29, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani had announced that a new cabinet would be formed within 45 days, a deadline that has already expired.
The ministries and provinces have been run by acting ministers and acting provincial governors over the past two months, something that prompted Wolesi Jirga or lower house of parliament to question the legitimacy of the government of national unity for failing to introduce the new cabinet ministers.
However, President Ghani at a joint press conference with Chief Executive of the national unity government Abdullah Abdullah late Sunday night announced that the acting ministers would no longer serve and instead hand over responsibility to their deputies to serve as acting ministers until the formation of the new cabinet, Xinhua reported citing the Daily Outlook newspaper Monday.
"Announcement of new cabinet delayed for another two to four weeks and the former cabinet ministers will not serve in the new cabinet and the new nominees will be gradually introduced to the parliament house to receive vote of confidence from the lawmakers, " the paper said, citing President Ghani.
Chief Executive Abdullah also said at the press conference that the new cabinet "would be merit-based where talented individuals would be introduced for each ministry", the Daily Outlook said.
Both Ghani and Abdullah were leading candidates in the April 5, 2014, presidential election and their tussle took the election to a runoff wherein the election body announced Ghani as the winner, a result disputed by Abdullah. This had brought the country to the verge of its worst political crisis.
However, with the mediation of US Secretary of State John Kerry, both the leaders agreed to form a national unity government with equal share in power.
Observers believe the formation of the cabinet with 50 percent share to each party would take more time than expected.
Criticizing the national unity government for its failure to form a cabinet, Speaker of the lower house Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said last week the country`s constitution did not allow acting ministers to serve for more than two months.