Deal between Karzai, lawmakers over parliament session initiation is 'uncertain'

Kabul, Jan 24 (ANI): The deal between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and rebel lawmakers on the opening of the lower house of parliament appears to be in doubt as the MPs are demanding the abolition of the Karzai-backed tribunal, terming it '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.

Karzai had agreed to the move after the MPs had reportedly said they would respect the findings of an electoral fraud tribunal.

Mirwais Yasini, Deputy Speaker of the Lower House of the Afghan Parliament, had earlier said Karzai had 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."

The 249-member lower house of parliament, the Wolasi Jerga, was originally scheduled to open on Sunday where the lawmakers were supposed to formally accept the deal.

Talks are continuing despite the latest disturbances, but the issue is threatening to cause a constitutional crisis, the BBC reports.

According to some of Karzai's officials, around 36 MPs could lose their seats, and added that the President is trying to manipulate the result of the election to produce a parliament more favourable to him.

About four months have passed after the parliamentary election, but the parliament sessions has not been started as of now.

Last week, Karzai had ordered a one-month delay to give the tribunal more time to investigate fraud allegations made after last September's poll.

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. (ANI)

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