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Afghan president approves elections law


11:39, July 21, 2013

KABUL, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday approved the controversial elections law, easing concerns that the upcoming presidential and provincial council elections might be delayed due to impediment in the election laws approval, said a statement issued by the Office of Administrative Affairs and Council of Ministers Secretariat.

Based on paragraph 16 of article 64 of Afghan constitution, President Hamid Karzai issued a presidential decree and approved the elections law on Saturday, the statement said. After several days of debate and controversy, the Afghan parliament approved the elections law bill in 16 chapters and 80 articles on Monday July 15 and sent it to presidential palace to be signed by the president, according to local media reports.

The move is a key step for holding the upcoming presidential and provincial council elections set for April 5 next year. All elections had in the past been held only by presidential decrees.

On Wednesday, president Karzai signed a new election law that spells out the role and structure of the country's electoral watchdog and of its election commission.

The announcement came amid reports by the local media that the war- weary Afghans had expressed concerns over the capability of their national security forces in maintaining security for the elections in 2014 when majority of 98,000 U.S. and NATO forces will withdraw the country.

Karzai took power as the first elected president of Afghanistan in December 2004 for a five-year term and he was re-elected as president in 2009. According to Afghan laws, he cannot seek third term.

The voter registration process for the upcoming general elections began on May 26 this year.

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