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Afghan Opposition Leader Wins Parliamentary Presidency --> Members of Afghanistan's parliament are sworn in on 19 December (epa) 21 December 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Afghan opposition leader Yunus Qanuni was elected president of Afghanistan's lower house of parliament today, narrowly beating an ally to President Hamid Karzai.

Qanuni was chosen to lead the 249-seat lower house of parliament with 122 votes against 117 for his closest challenger, Abdul Rabb Rasoul Sayyaf.

Qanuni is an ethnic Tajik who came in a distant second to Karzai in the 2004 presidential elections.

Yesterday, a close ally of Karzai -- Sibghatullah Mojadidi - was picked to head the 102-seat upper house.

The Afghan parliament met on 19 December for the first time in more than 30 years, capping a transition to democracy that began with the U.S.-led
toppling of the Taliban regime in 2001.

(RFE/RL's Afghan Service/Reuters)

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