Manawi says special court is unwarranted
KABUL(PAN): The Independent Election Commission (IEC) chief on Wednesday said irregularities during last year's parliamentary election were not enough to alter the poll's final results, calling the creation of a special court as unwarranted.
"We have done out duty with honesty, but now the special court has been creating problems between the legislative body and the government," Fazal Ahmad Manawi told lower house of the parliament.
On Nov. 24, 2010, the IEC announced final results from the September 18 parliamentary election after weeks of delay to allow officials to investigate thousands of allegations of fraud during the voting.
At that time Manawi had said there had been numerous problems in the election process, but they had been able to separate all fraudulent ballots from clean ones.
A series of protest demonstrations by losing candidates led the Supreme Court to set up a special court to look into the allegations.
The panel of five judges has not yet announced its final verdict on the irregularities since Jan. 26 when President Hamid Karzai inaugurated the new Parliament amid protests by losing candidates.
Manawi and Ahmad Zia Rafat, member of the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC), were on Wednesday summoned to the Parliament to brief MPs about activities of the two commissions.
Manwani said last year's poll was conducted in accordance with the constitution.
"The duty of IEC is to monitor electoral process and it has completed the task well, and the results have been announced in line with the constitution," he said, adding there was nothing hidden with the IEC. "Whatever information is required on the part of the election commission, we can provide," he said.
He acknowledged there had had been irregularities, but they were not as serious as to affect the results.
He said they had recounted votes of suspicious ballot boxes before announcing the final result.
He said there was no need for a special court to be established because the ECC itself was an electoral court to prevent irregularities under its regulations.
"Our decisions are final and no one can change it," ECC member, Rafat, said.
On his suspension as lecturer at Kabul University by the Attorney General's Office, he said his suspension had no links with the elections, but a result of personal interest by the AG.
"If the AG office and graft-tainted officials do not stop their illegal activities, I will expose them," he said, but did not go into details.
Parliamentarians also did not discuss comments by the two officials.
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