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Afghan Leader Extends Parliament's Term as Disputes Delay Vote

FILE - The office of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani says a new election date will be announced in a month.

With elections delayed by political squabbling, Afghanistan's president issued a decree Friday extending parliament's mandate until a vote could be held.

Parliament's five-year term was to expire 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 that the decision to let the existing parliament stay on had been taken in consultation with the judiciary and the legislative and executive branches, and that 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.