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Afghanistan: Draft Constitution For Post-Taliban Era Released

Kabul, 3 November 2003 (RFE/RL) -- An Afghan commission today officially unveiled a draft constitution for post-Taliban Afghanistan. The document was formally handed to Afghan Transitional Authority Chairman Hamid Karzai (pictured) at a ceremony in Kabul. "Praise be to God that we offer today, in the presence of all of you, the national document of the Afghan people, which is the draft constitution of the Islamic Transitional Authority of Afghanistan," Constitutional Commission Chairman Nematullah Shahrani said.

The draft is a key step toward defining a political system in post-Taliban Afghanistan. It is to be debated and voted upon next month by a 500-member Constitutional Loya Jirga to pave the way for democratic elections next June.

Commission member Shukrya Barikzai told reporters the document outlines a strong role for the Afghan president and a two-chambered parliament. But she said the draft does not envision a position of prime minister. She also said the president would be directly elected by the Afghan people.

The draft recognizes the importance of Islam in Afghan society but stops short of introducing Islamic law, or Shari'a, as the basis of criminal law.

For more information on the constitution see: Afghan Constitution