Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Thursday said it will remove some, but not all of the 62 parliamentarians whose victories were thrown out by a special court set up by a decree from President Hamid Karzai.
The special poll court’s June ruling rejected results for 62 lawmaker seats, or about a quarter of the 249-member assembly elected in a fraud-riddled poll in September of 2010, raising the prospect of a standoff between Karzai and the parliament. The tribunal carried out recounts and dismissed the 62 on grounds of alleged voting irregularities. The IEC, which ran the foreign-funded election, at first opposed the tribunal’s decision, but last month said it would review it.
“One thing that I want to say openly now is that a change has been forced and some members will be changed early next week,” IEC spokesman Tabish Ferogh told Reuters.
Ferogh declined to give fuller details but denied that all 62 parliamentarians the Karzai-appointed tribunal ordered to vacate their seats would be thrown out of office.
Most lawmakers, including many who do not face being unseated, reject the court and its ruling as unconstitutional and illegal. Many Afghan officials and international observers agree, and critics say the court was set up to further Karzai’s political agenda and silence opposition.
On Tuesday some 3,000 protesters gathered outside Afghanistan’s parliament to demand Afghan officials stop trying to alter the results of the election, which saw Karzai’s opponents make major gains.
The parliamentarians and protesters warned that if the IEC brings any changes, they would call in supporters for a sit-in in front of the presidential palace.