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Afghan parliament rejects two thirds of Karzai's Cabinet nominees

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW January 2 (RIA Novosti) - Afghanistan's parliament voted on Saturday to reject most of the nominees put forward by President Hamid Karzai to serve in his new Cabinet.

Just seven of 24 nominees were approved in a secret ballot that saw MPs vote on each candidate individually.

Among the seventeen rejects were Energy Minister Ismail Khan and Women's Affairs Minister Husn Bano Ghazanfar, who had both been expected to be reappointed.

Former warlord Khan is seen as a close ally of Karzai, and was a strong supporter of the president in his controversial reelection last year. Ghazanfar was the only woman nominated for a post.

The important posts at the defense and interior ministries were filled, with Abdul Rahim Wardak and Hanif Atmar reappointed, while the foreign minister is not expected to be named until after an international conference on Afghanistan in London at the end of January.

The lawmakers' assessment of Karzai's team is a severe blow to the president as he tries to restore his authority following the disputed election last August that international observers declared rigged.

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