Caveats surround backing of Afghan speaker

Feb. 28, 2011 at 12:26 PM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- The nomination of a new speaker of Parliament gives Afghanistan the impetus it needs to move forward with a democratic government, the U.N. mission there said.

The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan welcomed the selection of Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi as the new speaker of the Afghan Parliament.

"UNAMA looks forward to a constructive relationship with the elected leadership of the Parliament," the mission said in a Monday statement. "This step helps pave the way for the Wolesi Jirga (the lower house) to move forward with its important functions in the democratic governance of Afghanistan."

Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, a warlord accused of human rights violations during the 1980s, didn't get enough votes for the position. He was widely opposed by many Western governments, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Afghan officials told the Journal that Ibrahimi was a consensus candidate.

Lawmakers in Afghanistan have faced an uphill battle to assert their power since September elections. A special court supported by Afghan President Hamid Karzai is recounting some provincial ballots from the September contest, which was mired in fraud and corruption.

Critics said the special court violates the letter of Afghan law.

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