UNITED NATIONS, July 19 (UPI) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai's endorsement of a law on electoral bodies will ensure a "robust" democratic system is in place, the U.N. secretary-general said.
Karzai this week backed legislation meant to outline the structure and responsibilities of an independent election committee. The United Nations had pressed the president to get behind the legislation. Elections since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001 were seen as skewed in Karzai's favor.
Karzai is not eligible to seek reelection because of term limits.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he welcomed Karzai's decision to endorse the electoral legislation.
"The law is a key step towards establishing a robust electoral architecture for Afghanistan's presidential and provincial council elections due to take place on April 5, 2014," the secretary-general said in a statement Thursday.
Elections would correspond with a gradual drawdown of international forces operating in Afghanistan. NATO said in June the Afghan military was in the lead of security operations in the country.
"Afghan-led and Afghan-managed 2014 presidential and provincial council elections are central to Afghanistan's stable and sustainable political transition," Ban said.