Afghan Parliament Rejects Decision to Oust Nine Members

Posted August 24th, 2011 at 11:00 am (UTC-5)
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Afghanistan's parliament has rejected a decision by the nation's Independent Election Commission to replace nine lawmakers over allegations of voter fraud.

The lawmaking body voted Wednesday to throw out the decision, despite President Hamid Karzai's decree earlier this month that the commission should have final say on complaints about election results.

The lower house of parliament's vote was largely symbolic.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said Tuesday that it supported the IEC's decision. That move prompted hundreds of irate Afghans to march on the U.N. offices in Kabul.

The IEC on Sunday called for the replacement of nine of 62 lawmakers accused of voter fraud.

Commission chairman Fazel Ahmad Manawi said Sunday that the nine unseated lawmakers come from eight Afghan provinces. He said they will be replaced by nine new lawmakers, including a powerful former militia leader in northern Afghanistan, Gul Mohammad Pahlawan.

Some Afghan lawmakers have denounced the commission's move as illegal. The lower house of parliament has been in limbo since its inauguration in January because of accusations of massive fraud in the September 2010 election.

A special tribunal set up by Afghan President Hamid Karzai issued a ruling in June, calling for 62 lawmakers to be disqualified for fraud — one quarter of the 249-seat assembly. Mr. Karzai later scrapped the court after critics accused him of using it to reshape the parliament more to his liking.