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Afghanistan lower house rejects Karzai justice minister nominee, 16 others

[JURIST] Incumbent Afghan Minister of Justice Sarwar Danish [official profile] was among 17 cabinet nominees who were rejected [RFE report] on Saturday by the Wolesi Jirga [official website], Afghanistan's lower house of parliament. Danish, who has served as Minister of Justice since 2004, is one of 11 current cabinet members [RFE report] nominated by Afghan President Hamid Karzai [official profile, JURIST news archive] to fill posts in his new cabinet. Danish had previously been criticized [Al Jazeera report] for his inability to control Afghan jails and the mistreatment of detainees in Afghan custody. Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Afghanistan Kai Eide [official profile] said Sunday that the lack of a full cabinet was a "political setback, in the sense that it prolongs the situation without a functioning government," but expressed hope [press release] that parliament's use of its constitutional authority would result in a more transparent and accountable government.

In November, Afghan authorities announced that they had questioned two cabinet ministers [JURIST report] and were investigating 15 other government officials on corruption charges, but would not release their identities pursuant to Afghan law. The announcement came a week after Karzai vowed [JURIST report] in his inaugural address to fight governmental corruption, and in the face of growing international pressure. Karzai announced [BBC report] the formation of a commission to investigate corruption in November, after Afghanistan was ranked [JURIST report] by Transparency International [advocacy website] as the second most corrupt country in the world. Karzai was declared the winner [JURIST report] of the controversial presidential election [JURIST news archive] in early November when challenger Abdullah Abdullah [BBC profile] withdrew from the runoff.

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