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Afghan Poll Tribunal Seeks Delay To Parliament Opening

Failed candidates for the Afghan parliament demonstrated in front of the presidential palace in Kabul on November 24.
A special tribunal set up in Afghanistan to rule on allegations of vote fraud after elections in September has asked President Hamid Karzai to delay the inauguration of the new parliament.

The head of the special court, Sadiqullah Haqiq, told a news conference in Kabul 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, it is necessary to ask His Excellency President Karzai to postpone the inauguration of the parliament," Haqiq said.

The September 22 parliamentary elections have been marred by allegations of massive fraud. Electoral authorities disqualified more 24 early winners and threw out around one-quarter of about 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