KABUL: The head of a special tribunal set up to rule on allegations of vote fraud after Afghan elections in September urged President Hamid Karzai Wednesday to delay opening the new parliament.
Judge Sidiqullah Haqiq told a news conference in Kabul that the inauguration, expected to take place on January 23, should be delayed “at least for one month” since the court may decide some vote recounts are needed.
The September elections were hit by fraud and violence and resulted in a weak showing for the Pashtuns, Afghanistan’s biggest single ethnic group and Karzai’s traditional powerbase.
“It is possible that the court will rule on recounting some votes,” Haqiq said. “So this requires President Karzai to postpone the inauguration of the parliament, at least for a month.”
Afghans voted in their second post-Taliban parliamentary election on September 18. The extremist militants launched a string of attacks which killed at least 22 people on the day.
Electoral authorities disqualified 24 early winners, including allies of the president, and threw out around a quarter of about five million votes cast.
The attorney general’s office later called for the results to be annulled, saying the vote was marred by massive fraud.
Karzai ordered the creation of the special tribunal of Afghanistan’s Supreme Court under Haqiq last month to hear fraud complaints. But many winning candidates question its authority.