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Afghanistan's new Constitution takes effect with UN offering support

26 January 2004 President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan today signed the country's new Constitution, triggering its formal adoption in the presence of the United Nations Acting Special Representative for Afghanistan, Jean Arnault.

Afghanistan's Loya Jirga, or grand council, reached agreement on the Constitution's form and detail at the start of the month. But the signing was delayed until the Dari and Pashto language versions of the document could be completely reconciled.

The new document outlines a presidential system of government, a bicameral legislature, equal rights for women and a judicial system that complies with Islam. National presidential and legislative elections are scheduled to take place later this year.

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