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Last Updated: Monday, 5 January, 2004, 12:29 GMT
Afghan press fete loya jirga result
Loya Jirga delegates read copy of new constitution
Constitution to unite Afghans

After weeks of debate, Afghanistan's loya jirga, or grand council, approved a new constitution for the country on Sunday.

The aim of the document is to unify the diverse Afghan nation and to prepare the ground for elections later this year.

The constitution also provides for women having guaranteed representation in the new parliament, as well as a powerful presidency.

On the whole, Afghanistan's fledgling press welcomes the developments.

The success of the constitutional loya jirga is a preamble for other major victories in Afghanistan
Anis

The government-funded daily Anis highlights the ferocity of the exchanges in the debate as the delegates argued over the terms of the document.

But, its editorial says, in the end "understanding surmounted any disagreement".

"Fortunately, the nation's representatives... paid heed to the national interest and gave up those demands which caused tension and procrastination."

Future optimism

The paper feels it can look to the future with optimism: "The success of the constitutional loya jirga is a preamble for other major victories in Afghanistan."

A signed commentary in the same paper goes deeper into the factional disagreements and wrangling, which characterised the loya jirga's work, and attributes the eventual success of the gathering to a "decrease in personal and tribal preferences".

Force, pressure, aggression and the threats of the warlords against the women delegates and some other people's representatives... cannot be overlooked
Farda

"Although the work of the loya jirga came a long way and included diverse debates and arguments, and experienced numerous tensions, it was always believed that this loya jirga would reach a conclusion," it says.

Any failure would have been "the failure of the whole nation".

The independent weekly Farda sees the debates and "tensions" in the assembly as part of political horse-trading, rather than any concerted attempt to sabotage the process.

But nevertheless, the paper is concerned: "Force, pressure, aggression and the threats of the warlords against the women delegates and some other people's representatives... cannot be overlooked."

Stronger president

The strengthened role of the Afghan presidency is commented on in Mojahed, which is affiliated to the Jamiat-e Eslami-e party.

The paper believes the current president, Hamid Karzai, made his support "for an absolute presidential system" abundantly clear to the delegates.

"Independent analysts describe these declarations as tantamount to the fact that Mr Karzai wanted to warn the representatives to 'cut your coat according to your cloth', because he is not in agreement with anything but an absolute presidential system", the paper says.

Unveiling some faces, who were unrealistically chanting the slogans of democracy, was another achievement of the loya jirga
Mojahed

Nevertheless, Mojahed is sure the loya jirga showed "the government officials of Afghanistan" that they "cannot play with the aspirations of people".

"The Afghan people have now fully recognised those people who are heading towards democracy, and those who just chant slogans."

It believes that this is also a mark of the gathering's success.

"Unveiling some faces, who were unrealistically chanting the slogans of democracy, was another achievement of the loya jirga."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.





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