Politically, the Afghan central government is relatively stable, but it is perceived as weak and rife with corruption. The post-Taliban transition was completed with the convening of a parliament in December 2005 following September 2005 parliamentary elections. A new constitution was adopted in January 2004, and presidential elections were held on October 9, 2004. The parliament has become an arena for factions that have fought each other for nearly three decades to peacefully resolve differences, as well as a center of political pressure on President Hamid Karzai. Major regional strongmen have been marginalized. Afghan citizens are enjoying personal freedoms forbidden by the Taliban, and women are participating in economic and political life. Presidential elections are to be held in the fall of 2009, with parliamentary and provincial elections to follow one year later.
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