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    IEC unseats 9 Wolesi Jirga members

    KABUL(PAN): The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Sunday disqualified nine sitting MPs in favour of candidates previously certified as having lost the parliamentary election.

    IEC Chairman Fazal Ahmad Manawi told a press conference the newly-announced winners were from amongst the 62 replacements announced earlier by the special tribunal.

    Mahmoud Khan Salim Khel replaces Abdul Qadir from Paktia province; Abdu Rauf replaces Abdul Wali Niazai from Badakhshan province; Ashaqullah replaces Muhammad Zahir Ghani from Baghlan province.

    Similarly, Ahmad Khan Samangani replaces Mohammad Tahir Zahir from Samangan; Gul Mohammad Pahlawan replaces Shakir Kargar from Faryab; Nisar Ahmad Ghoryani replaces Mohammad Rafiq Shahir; and Rahima Jami replaces Samin Barakzai from Herat.

    Mualim Mirwali replaces Massoud Khan Noorzai from Helmand and Hamidullah Tokhi replaces Abdul Habib Andiwal from Zabul.

    Manawi said the nine poll contenders had won a higher number of votes than those they will replace. The commission’s decision comes after Manawi, rejecting calls to invalidate results, had said no organisation was authorised to alter the certified tallies.

    Any attempt to alter the final results would violate the constitution, IEC officials have warned. President Hamid Karzai inaugurated the new Parliament on Jan. 26, 2011, ending weeks of a political deadlock.

    The Attorney General’s Office invalidated some poll results. A five-judge special court was set up in late December 2010 to look into allegations of widespread rigging in the vote.

    On June 23, the court ruled that rigging had occurred in 33 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. It disqualified 62 of the 249 MPs, nearly a quarter of the lower house, on the basis of a vote recount.

    However, the verdict was rejected by the election commission and the legislature. Later, a group of lawmakers met President Karzai about the decision. The president told them the election commission had prepared a six-article resolution to resolve the crisis.

    On August 10, Karzai ordered the commission to resolve the lingering dispute between Parliament and losing candidates.