[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
Afghan court overturns dozens of poll results
Ruling could lead to disqualification of one quarter of parliamentarians, but they say court itself is unconstitutional.
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2011 11:19
Afghan president Hamid Karzai created the court to review the results of last year's election [Reuters]

A special election court in Afghanistan has begun overturning dozens of results from last year's parliamentary election, setting up a possible constitutional showdown with members of parliament.

The court on Thursday threw out the results of 62 races, nearly one-quarter of Afghanistan's 249-seat lower house of parliament, called the Wolesi Jirga. Some of the overturned results involve substantial number of votes: In one race in Herat province, for example, the winning candidate had 5,000 votes subtracted from his total, and another candidate received an extra 12,000 votes, making him the winner.

Sediqullah Haqiq, the head of the tribunal, said it had found evidence of fraud in 33 of 34 Afghan provinces. He called the court’s ruling "final."

"Those parliamentarians who won seats in parliament through electoral fraud and violation must be prosecuted," he said.

Constitutional crisis?

The court's decision is likely to be anything but final, though.

Afghan president Hamid Karzai created the court to review the results of last year's election for the Wolesi Jirga. The vote was marred by widespread allegations of fraud, and the electoral complaints commission eventually tossed out more than one million ballots.

But many members of parliament argue that the court is unconstitutional. Last week, more than 100 of them threatened to quit in protest if the court overturned results from even a single race.

On Wednesday, the Wolesi Jirga summoned the attorney general, the chief justice of the supreme court, and two other supreme court justices. It wanted to question the four officials about the special election court.

They refused to show up, arguing that the parliament had no legal standing to summon them; in response, the parliament passed a no-confidence vote against the attorney general.

Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC) also does not recognise the special court. In February, the attorney general threatened to arrest IEC members who refused to turn over ballot boxes to the court.

International election advisers have also called the court illegal.

Karzai has not yet made any public statement about the court’s ruling.

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Frustration grows in Kiev as pledges to end corruption and abuse of power stagnate after Maidan Square protest.
Thousands of Houthi supporters have called for the fall of Yemen's government. But what do the Houthis really want?
New ration reductions and movement restrictions have refugees from Myanmar anxious about their future in Thailand.
US lawyers say poor translations of election materials disenfranchise Native voters.
US drones in Pakistan have killed thousands since 2004. How have leaders defended or decried these deadly planes?
join our mailing list