International brief ~ Pakistan parliament says Musharraf can stay as army head

The lower house of the Pakistani Parliament approved a bill Thursday to allow President Pervez Musharraf to remain as both the country's President and the Chief General of the armed forces. The bill was presented to allow Musharraf to keep his dual role in spite of a promise he made last year to step down as leader of the military on December 31 of this year. The opposition claims that the vote was invalid as a two-thirds vote was needed rather than a simple majority, since the bill is seeking to override a valid amendment to the country's constitution (text here). The bill will next be presented to the upper house of the parliament where the government faction holds a majority of seats. The bill specifies that Musharraf will be allowed to keep his dual role until the end of 2007 in order to "continue the fight against terrorism and safeguard Pakistan's territorial integrity." JURIST's Paper Chase has background. The Hindustan Times has more.... Cambodia's Royal Throne Council has selected a new monarch following the abdication of King Norodom Sihanouk. Sihamoni was selected by the nine-member Royal Throne Council Thursday and will be crowned later in the month. The country faced a constitutional crisis when Sihanouk declared his abdication last week, as the constitution made no provision for the abdication or resignation of a monarch, envisioning only death in office. The Cambodian Senate passed a law detailing the procedure to be followed in the event of a retirement, incapacitation, or abdication. JURIST's Paper Chase has background. BBC News has a profile of Sihamoni here. Channel News Asia has more.... Somalia's new president, Abdullahi Yusuf, was sworn into office Thursday in Nairobi, Kenya, where the Somalian government has been seated for security reasons since its revival last year. Yusuf is the first head of state for Somalia in 13 years and will be leading a coalition government to restore a functioning democratic system of elections within 5 years. Yusef called on the international community to send peacekeepers to the region to help deal with the security threats that currently exist, such as the claim for autonomy by the northern province of Somaliland, and for the training of Somalia's budding security forces. BBC News has Yusuf's profile here. The East African Standard has more.... Spanish Foreign Minister Angel Moratinos (profile here) said Wednesday that the UN Security Council should begin consideration of a new resolution to restart the final determination process for the Western Sahara. The area used to be a Spanish territory but was annexed by Morocco in 1975. Morocco's annexation was contrary to an International Court of Justice advisory opinion (text here) that stated that Western Sahara should enjoy autonomy and eventual independence. Morocco has argued that any resolution should be put off until the Security Council has a chance to hear a report by Alvaro De Soto (UN press release on appointment here), the UN Special Representative to Western Sahara. Middle East Online has more.

 

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