June 19, 2015 / 4:18 PM / in 2 years

Afghan leader extends parliament's term, promises election date

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan May 11, 2015. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

KABUL (Reuters) - With elections delayed by political squabbling, Afghanistan’s president issued a decree on Friday extending parliament’s mandate until a vote could be held.

Parliament’s five-year term was set to expire on June 22, but elections scheduled for April were postponed because of security fears and disagreement on how to ensure a fair vote after a bitterly disputed presidential election last year.

President Ashraf Ghani’s office said the decision to let the existing parliament stay on had been taken in consultation with the judiciary, the legislative and the executive, and a new election date would be announced in a month.

Both Ghani and rival Abdullah Abdullah claimed victory after last year’s presidential vote was marred by accusations of widespread fraud on both sides. It took months for them to agree to a U.S.-brokered deal to form a unity government with Ghani as president and Abdullah as chief executive.

Under the deal, electoral reforms were a condition for holding future votes, but little progress has been made because rivals in government disagree over who should lead the reform commission.

Reporting by Kay Johnson; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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