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The Wolesi Jirga approved a bill Wednesday to create a provincial affairs ministry, upgrading the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) for the purpose.

The move increases parliament's oversight powers, supplanting a presidentially appointed independent organ with a ministerial body that is answerable to the legislature.

"The formation of a ministry is to monitor the activities of local officials and prevent their disobedience," Ghazni MP Mohammad Aref Rahmani said.

Several MPs, however, opposed the decision and said that the appointment of provincial governors is the authority of President Karzai, which could be curbed if this ministry is created.

"According to laws, the president is authorized to appoint the provincial governors. Upgrading the IDLG to a ministry is meaningless," Kabul MP Shukria Barekzai said.

Under the current structure, the IDLG recommends appointments of governors, mayors and other local officials for the president to approve.

The draft law will now go to the Senate, where one-third of the members are appointed by the president. To become law, the bill will need to be signed by the president, who is expected to show reservations about the move.

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