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Afghan Parliament Delays Recess For Cabinet Vote

An Afghan lawmaker casts a ballot during the January 2 session that blocked many of Karzai's ministerial choices.
KABUL (Reuters) -- Afghanistan's parliament will comply with a presidential decree to delay lawmakers' winter break until they have voted on a slate of new cabinet nominees, including a foreign minister candidate, an official has said.

President Hamid Karzai had ordered parliament to stay in session after it rejected on January 2 more than two-thirds of his first ministerial candidates, including several close Karzai allies, in a surprise flexing of political muscle.

The lower house of parliament expects Karzai to present his new list of 18 nominees on January 9, said Hasib Noori, head of media relations for parliament.

Lawmakers rejected 17 of 24 ministerial candidates at the weekend, but Karzai had not included a prospective foreign minister in that list.

"The parliament debated this matter today and decided to delay the recess, and on Saturday it will take a vote of confidence on the cabinet," Hasib Noori said.