A special court set up at the behest of President Hamid Karzai ordered on Thursday the reinstatement of 62 candidates who had lost their seats or had been disqualified from last year’s parliamentary elections, reviving the prospect of a constitutional crisis for the nation.
The decision was the latest chapter in a heated dispute over allegations of fraud in last September’s elections. Coming a day after President Obama’s announcement of troop withdrawals from Afghanistan, it provided a stinging reminder of the potential for turbulence in the country’s fledgling democracy.
Mr. Karzai swore in the current Parliament in January under pressure from his international backers and angry threats from the winning candidates. But he did so only after setting up the special court to review complaints by scores of candidates — many of them Pashtuns from his political base in the south — who were disqualified by the country’s election commissions.
The disqualifications not only threatened to reduce Mr. Karzai’s allies in Parliament, but also raised concerns that they would disenfranchise Pashtuns, the nation’s largest ethnic group, in parts of the country where the insurgency was most intense.
The creation of the special court, however, set off a bitter standoff between the country’s election authorities, who declared the court illegal, and the nation’s attorney general, Mohammed Ishaq Aloko, who had convened the court on the president’s orders and who has brought a series of criminal charges against election officials, alleging corruption.
Actions last year by the Independent Election Commission and the Electoral Complaints Commission had invalidated the votes cast for 413 candidates, overturning their victories or in some cases blocking them from running in the Sept. 18 elections. In all, 2,500 candidates ran for the Parliament’s 249 seats.