Afghan MPs ask for help over poll court ruling, UN urges caution

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.

“DOMINATION”

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”.

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