Thursday, February 22, 2024

Afghan court overturns 25 pct of poll results

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KABUL: A special Afghan court set up by President Hamid Karzai after fraud-marred parliamentary elections last year threw out results in about a quarter of the seats in the assembly on Thursday, raising fears of a constitutional crisis.The court ruled that 62 lawmakers elected to the 249-seat lower house of parliament would have to vacate their seats and be replaced by new members because of alleged poll fraud.Karzai’s critics have said the court was set up after the disputed 2010 election, in which Karzai’s rivals made major gains, to further his political aims rather than serve justice.”Are we heading for a constitutional crisis? I’m totally flabbergasted,” one Western diplomat said after he watched court officials announce revised results for dozens of districts live on national television.”The question it raises is whether you have a constitutional democracy or not. What are we doing here?”Armed soldiers stood behind the special court judges as they read out the new results, with cheering and applause coming from newly declared winners and their supporters.The announcement of the new results came just hours after US President Barack Obama set his timetable for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, part of a gradual transition to Afghan authority that will end with all foreign combat troops leaving by the end of 2014. (Reuters)

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