Afghanistan Reshuffles Parliament

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KABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 22 (UPI) — Nine members of the Afghan Parliament lost their seats after an independent election commission announced its ruling on last year’s marred contest.

Fazel Ahamd Manawi, director of the Afghan Independent Elections Committee, said decisions were made to end a political crisis stewing since last year.

“Today we have taken a very difficult and tough decision in order to end the election dispute though there was pressure from certain circles within the government,” he was quoted by the McClatchy news service as saying.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai in December created an independent tribunal tasked with examining widespread fraud in September elections for the Wolesi Jirga, the lower house of Parliament. Karzai wanted 62 members invalided, while the United Nations wanted 17.

Election officials threw out some votes because of fraud allegations and the latest uproar further threatens to disrupt the political climate in Afghanistan.

“It is not believed that this decision of the election commission will end the crisis, indeed we are entering another phase of crisis,” Ahmad Zia Rafat, a one-time spokesman for the Afghan Electoral Complaints Commission, was quoted as saying.

Washington said it support the IEC’s ruling.

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