Afghan Election Officials Reaffirm Decision to Expel 9 MPs

Posted October 11th, 2011 at 7:40 pm (UTC-5)
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Afghan election officials on Tuesday reaffirmed their decision to expel nine lawmakers from parliament for voter fraud.

The head of Afghanistan's election commission, Fazel Ahmad Manawai, said Tuesday the officials are ready and willing to make public how they arrived at their decision.

Their announcement came after one of the unseated politicians, Simeen Barakzai, vowed to continue her hunger strike outside parliament in Kabul until she is reinstated.

Barakzai began her hunger strike 10 days ago. She refuses to be taken to a hospital or to take a glucose drip, despite reports that her health is in critical condition.

The country's religious scholars issued a statement Tuesday, calling Barakzai's hunger strike “illegitimate from an Islamic perspective.”

She and eight other members of the national assembly were removed from their seats by the Independent Election Commission two months ago in an attempt to resolve long-running allegations of widespread graft in a September 2010 parliamentary vote. Some lawmakers who boycotted parliament to protest the expulsions returned to their seats on Saturday.