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Afghan Loya Jirga Approves New Constitution - 2004-01-04

After weeks of argument, Afghanistan has approved a new constitution, postponing some difficult political issues until a new government can be elected.

Sabghatuallah Mujadidi, head of the Afghan constitutional assembly, declared success Sunday afternoon in adopting the country's new system of government.

When it is signed later in the day, Afghanistan will have its first constitution since the ousting of the hard-line Taleban regime two years ago.

Some of the controversial issues that held up the passage of a constitution have now been settled. Many assembly delegates, for example, had demanded that Afghanistan adopt a parliamentary system.

The final deal provides for a presidential government closer to a French or U.S. model, but with a stronger parliament than originally called for by the transitional government.

Other issues, however, have been put off for a decision by the next government, including the contentious question of allowing top officials to hold citizenship in other countries.