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Afghanistan Delays Parliament Opening By A Month


Sadiqullah Haqiq addresses the press.

Sadiqullah Haqiq addresses the press.

President Hamid Karzai's office says that the inauguration of Afghanistan's new parliament has been delayed to February 22, amid allegations of fraud by some losing candidates.

The move follows a request by a special tribunal set up to rule on allegations of vote fraud after elections in September.

The head of the special court, Sadiqullah Haqiq, told a news conference in Kabul today that the inauguration should be delayed "at least one month" to give the court time to further investigate allegations of vote fraud.

"In order to have clarity and accuracy, in order to implement justice in the country and to respect the members of parliament who are winners and those who did not win," Haqiq said, "it is necessary to ask His Excellency President Karzai to postpone the inauguration of the parliament."

The September 22 parliamentary election has been marred by allegations of massive fraud. Electoral authorities disqualified more 24 early winners, and threw out about a quarter of some 5 million votes cast.

The opening of the new parliament was expected to take place on January 23.

The date for the opening session is set by the Afghan president.

compiled from agency reports
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