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Ghani extends parliamentarians’ term, pledges poll date

AT-KABUL: President Ashraf Ghani extended the term of the current parliament and said lawmakers would continue working until results of a new election were announced.

The five year long mandate of the current parliament is set to be ended on June 22, but the election, scheduled for April, was delayed due to “technical and financial issued”, the Presidential Palace said in a statement, issued late on Friday.

President’s office said the decision to let the existing parliament stay on had been taken in consultation with the judiciary, the legislative, and the executive, and a new election date would be announced within a month.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Abdullah Abdullah, after fraud accusations in presidential elections, agreed on a power sharing deal that resulted in formation of the National Unity Government.

Reforms in the electoral bodies, was main condition of the deal between the leaders, before to hold any elections. But little progress has been made, because rivals in the government disagree over who should lead the reforms commission.

Shukria Barakzai, a member of the Wolesi Jirga, was singled out to lead the electoral reforms commission by the president, but was soon rejected by Abdullah, apparently because she was a close ally of President Ghani in elections.

The government says that security concerns were also an issue, pushing the related organs not to hold election on time. Taliban launched their annual spring offensives on April 24. The militants so far launched deadly attacks and overrun some districts, temporary in north and west.

Ghani’s decision divided lawmakers as some of them called the extension against the constitution. “It is against the Afghan constitution, government was responsible to hold election on time,” said Shukria Barakzai while criticizing Ghani’s decision in Saturday’s parliament session.

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