Parliamentary groups battle over IEC’s decision
The IEC, Afghanistan’s supreme electoral authority, announced on Sunday, August 21, that it would disqualify nine sitting MPs on the grounds of electoral fraud in last September’s elections for the Wolesi Jirga, or lower house of Parliament.
Previously, the MPs had emphasized their unity in rejecting the decision of the IEC. On Saturday, however, the Parliamentary bloc Advocating for Reform announced that they would support the IEC’s decision.
This morning, members of Supporters of Law, another Parliamentary bloc, fought verbally and physically with members of the Advocating for Reform group.
The IEC first certified the results of the September 18, 2010 Parliamentary election in November 2011, after invalidating millions of votes.
The Attorney General’s Office, too, invalidated some poll results. A five-judge special court was set up in December 2010 to look into further allegations of vote-rigging.
The special court’s investigation was ongoing when President Hamid Karzai inaugurated the new Parliament on Jan. 26, 2011.
On June 23, 2011 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. The decision was opposed by IEC and Wolesi Jirga’s members.
The case was later referred to an appellant court to resolve the dispute, but the court asked Karzai to make the final decision. On Aug.10, Karzai referred the case back to the IEC.
On August 21, the commission disqualified nine sitting MPs and granted Parliament membership to the nine candidates who were declared winners. However, the Wolesi Jirga rejected the decision as illegal and unconstitutional.
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