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MPs differ over special court's legitimacy

MPs differ over special court's legitimacy

May 09, 2011 - 21:02

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon members on Monday differed over the legitimacy of a special court probing into fraudulent votes cast during last year's parliamentary election.

The Supreme Court created the penal of five judges to look into allegations of fraud in the Sep. 18 election on Dec. 26, 2010 following protests by losing candidates.

Although the Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon) had announced the final outcome of the polls and the new Parliament had also been inaugurated, the tribunal is yet to hand down its final verdict. Vote recount in most of provinces had been completed as part of the court's investigation.

Differences on Monday surfaced among lawmakers over the legal status of the special court, with some calling it a legal body and others as illegal.

MP Abdul Latif Fidram claimed he had reports that the court would announce its verdict after the parliament rose for the summer recess on Jun 5.

However, he did not say from where he got the information. "According to my information, as many as 80 sitting parliamentarians are going to be unseated," he claimed, calling the court as illegitimate. He said the court's decision was not acceptable for them.

Another parliamentarian, Mohammad Sarwar Osmani from southwestern Farah province, also said he had come to know about such rumours. He said their repeated calls seeking dissolution of the court were not answered by the government.

However, others MPs said parliamentarians who won elections by using fraudulent votes had been opposing the tribunal.

"Those MP who were involved in fraud are worried about the court decision," Nasima Niazi, a female lawmaker from southern Helmand province, said. The Supreme Court had the authority to set up a special court to probe fraud, she said.

"The court has been set up in line with the constitution and it should be allowed to punish those involved in irregularities and fraud in last year's election," another MP, Arian Yun, from eastern Nangarhar province, said.

Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said they would once again meet President Hamid Karzai to ask him to dissolve the court.


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