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Disqualified MPs warn of protests

Disqualified MPs warn of protests

Jun 25, 2011 - 18:54

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): Lawmakers who were disqualified on Thursday by a special election court have threatened to launch a protest movement if they are unseated in light of the tribunal's verdict.

The special court was established by decree of President Hamid Karzai after widespread allegations of fraud surfaced in last year’s parliamentary elections. The court ruled on Thursday that 62 lawmakers, nearly a quarter of the lower house, would be replaced due to poll fraud.

In response, parliamentarians voted on Saturday to fire the five most senior members of the Supreme Court, including Chief Justice Abdul Salam Azimi and his deputy Bahahuddin Baha, for failing to stop the special court's decision.

Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon members said 183 MPs out of 190 who attended parliament on Saturday voted to impeach those five members of the Supreme Court's High Council.

They said the vote was taken because the five had all advised Karzai to set up the special court to resolve weeks of protests and infighting that followed the elections.

Manawar Bahadari of Herat, one of the disqualified lawmakers, said they were waiting for reaction from the Independent Election Commission and the international community over the court's decision.

The Wolesi Jirga has called the verdict illegal and created a commission to discuss the issue with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistaninfo-icon, as well as embassies of foreign countries.

Bahadari said if the international community did not intervene in the decision, they would launch a protest movement. He accused the special court of paving the way for individuals with relationships with powerful government officials to enter the house.

He said the tribunal was illegal and baseless. "There is no mention of such a court in the law," he said.

Arifullah Rahmani, another lawmaker, said the people had voted for him and the people knew how to ask about their votes. "The verdict is the death of democracy and it is indeed bad politics," he said.

In anticipation of the verdict, lawmakers said earlier that 140 MPs had signed an agreement to quit the house if one of them was unseated.

"No matter if my colleagues do not support me. I will defend myself and the right of my voters," Rahmani said.

Another ousted MP, Mohammad Naeem Hamidi, claimed all members of parliament were united in their stance not to give up their seats. He said the court had delivered its verdict on ethnic and linguistic grounds.



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