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08/22/11

Afghan body votes to remove 9 MPs for vote fraud

Source: Radio Zamaneh

The Afghanistan Elections Commission has accused nine members of Parliament of election fraud and is calling for their removal.

The head of the commission, Ahmad Manavi, said the decision is final and there will be no review of the verdict.

Ten days ago, President Hamid Karzai charged the commission with putting an end to disputes over the parliamentary election results.

However, the Afghan Parliament has criticized the decision and declared that it will by no means accept any new representatives.

The parliamentary elections in Afghanistan took place last September in 34 Afghan provinces, and the results were announced two months later. However, the Afghanistan Prosecutor's Office said scores of defeated candidates were making allegations of vote fraud, which led Karzai to establish a special court to process election complaints.

Meanwhile, Karzai faced persistent pressure from the winning candidates, together with the United Nations and Western countries, to open the parliamentary session last February. The Special Court announced that its investigations would continue regardless.

Following a recount, the Special Court announced 62 of the defeated candidates were indeed the winners and had to replace their counterparts in Parliament.

The decision was sent to the appeals court, which refrained from making any confirmation and forwarded the cases to the president for finalization.

Karzai consequently charged the Elections Commission to "finalize the legal part of the decision according to the constitution and the elections law" in the shortest time possible.

The Afghan Parliament has 249 seats of which 68 have been allotted to women parliamentarians. The lawmakers are elected for a five-year term.

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