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Afghan MPs appeal to UN over poll row

Afghan lawmakers Sunday urged the United Nations to support their resistance to moves by a special election tribunal to throw over 60 of them out of parliament over alleged vote fraud.



Kabul: Afghan lawmakers Sunday urged the United Nations to support their resistance to moves by a special election tribunal to throw over 60 of them out of parliament over alleged vote fraud.

The members of parliament (MPs) met the United Nations representative in Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, amid a spiralling crisis gripping the country`s political system weeks before foreign troops start to withdraw.

Some analysts accuse Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who ordered the establishment of the special tribunal, of using it to try and boost the number of his supporters in Afghanistan`s lower house of parliament, the Wolesi Jirga.

A United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) statement said members of the 249-seat Wolesi Jirga Sunday gave de Mistura a letter addressed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealing for support.

De Mistura told them that the issues under dispute must be resolved "in accordance with the constitution."

He also urged them to "act responsibly" in making their case "and not resort to sit-ins, protests or other actions which could provoke public unrest," the UNAMA statement said.

The meeting came after a special election tribunal ruled Thursday in favour of throwing out 62 MPs from parliament over alleged ballot rigging in September`s parliamentary elections.

The call provoked fury among many lawmakers, prompting them to pass a vote of no confidence in the country`s chief justice and five other members of the Supreme Court Saturday.

Afghanistan`s Independent Election Commission (IEC), which would be in charge of implementing any such move, said Sunday it strongly disagreed with the ruling by the court, whose legitimacy it does not recognise.

"Making changes in the election results... and particularly after the inauguration of parliament is in no-one`s authority and is against the country`s laws," the IEC said in a statement.

"The commission stands by its previous stance and no pressure or illegal actions would force it to step back from its decision."

The Wolesi Jirga was inaugurated in January, four months after the original elections, after a standoff between Karzai and lawmakers over fraud claims was temporarily resolved.

But now that the special tribunal has delivered its ruling after months of deliberation, deep public splits have again surfaced in Afghanistan`s political system.

Foreign troop withdrawals are due to start from Afghanistan next month, while President Barack Obama announced last week that 10,000 United States troops are set to leave the war-torn country this year.

Bureau Report

From Zee News

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