Karzai agrees to dump 'parliament session delay' plans over constitutional crisis fears

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Kabul, Jan 23 (ANI): Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has reportedly agreed to put an end to his plans of delaying the parliament session by a month after lawmakers threatened to spark off a constitutional crisis.

Karzai had earlier ordered a month's delay to give a special tribunal more time to investigate allegations of fraud relating to the parliamentary elections held in September last year.

The BBC quoted election officials as saying that the probe is unconstitutional.

Afghan electoral law states that the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) is the ultimate arbiter of disputes over fraud, and that the results declared by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) are final.

The BBC quoted Mirwais Yasini, Deputy Speaker of the Lower House of the Afghan Parliament, as saying that Karzai agreed to convene the lower house of parliament, the Wolasi Jerga, on Wednesday after the MPs agreed that any criminal case identified by the special tribunal could go forward.

"Karzai has agreed that criminal cases should be decided according to the laws and constitution. If the special court is illegal then it will automatically be abolished," he said.

He also said that the MPs would formally accept the deal in a letter on Sunday.

Under Afghan law, the president must attend the opening session, but because of the disturbances, the MPs had threatened to disobey Karzai's delay orders and convene the lower house on their own on Sunday, as originally scheduled, the report said.

On Friday, the UN, EU, US and Canada had expressed their "deep concern" at the delay.

"Afghanistan's peaceful future lies in the building up of robust democratic institutions based on the rule of law and clear respect for the separation of powers," a joint statement said.

The critics are of the opinion that Karzai is not very happy with the results of the parliamentary poll because it has produced a larger and more vocal opposition, which might challenge his traditional power base among Pashtuns, Afghanistan's largest ethnic group. (ANI)

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