Afghan president Hamid Karzai has changed a law giving him control of the country's Electoral Complaints Commission, which threw out more than half a million votes cast for him in last year's election.
AFP - Afghanistan's president has changed a law to take control of an election watchdog that threw out more than half a million votes cast for him in last year's election, his spokesman said Tuesday.
The amendment, made last week to the electoral law, allows President Hamid Karzai to personally appoint the five-member panel of the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC), Siamak Herawi said.
How FRANCE 24 broke the story last week
Under the previous law, three of the five ECC members were appointed by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.
In the fraud-tainted presidential election held in August, the ECC threw out around one third, or half a million votes cast for Karzai as fraudulent.
The move sparked a run-off that was cancelled when his only rival, Abdullah Abdullah, pulled out, accusing the Independent Election Commission (IEC) -- also appointed by Karzai -- of bias.
"With foreigners in the commission it was not a national body, nor it was an Afghan body. So to Afghanise the process, the president changed some articles of the law," Herawi told AFP.
"Some articles of the law were amended and the president signed and approved it," Herawi said.
Asked who would appoint the panel under the new law, Herawi said: "The president."
Afghanistan's second-ever presidential election descended into farce and held the country in the grip of political stasis for months before Karzai was declared president by the IEC and inaugurated in November.
The government has postponed for four months parliamentary elections originally scheduled for May 22, amid calls for reform of the electoral system and related commissions.
Date created : 2010-02-23