KABUL, (Reuters) – The United Nations urged the Afghan parliament yesterday not to take any action that might provoke unrest after election officials rejected a ruling by a specially appointed court that threw out a quarter of lawmakers elected last year.
The court, established by presidential decree after fraud-marred parliamentary elections, ordered on Thursday that 62 lawmakers elected in the September poll vacate their seats in the 249-seat house over fraud concerns.
The ruling has been condemned as unconstitutional and illegal by Afghan officials and international poll observers.
Staffan de Mistura, the U.N. special representative in Afghanistan, said the disagreement over the disputed election must be resolved in accordance with the Afghan constitution.
“Parliamentarians should act responsibly in making their constitutional demands, and not resort to sit-ins, protests or other actions which could provoke public unrest,” de Mistura said in a statement.
The court was set up by President Hamid Karzai last year after weeks of infighting over the election, in which Karzai’s rivals made major gains. Critics have said the court was set up to further Karzai’s political agenda and silence opposition.
Lawmakers earlier sent de Mistura a letter, addressed to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, asking for international assistance against the court, which they described as illegal.
The letter, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, accused Karzai of overseeing Afghanistan’s laws and constitution and of “having overall domination over the electoral institutions”.
It asked the international community “to assist the people of Afghanistan to protect the democratic regime and rule of law, in order (that) Afghans, as a noble and eminent nation, can live in peace and harmony free of every kind of individual oppression”.