Hamid Karzai

United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan expressed concern over delays proposed in the opening of the Afghanistan parliament which was elected in September.

The newly elected Afghan Parliament was set to convene on Sunday, January 23 but President Karzai accepted a request from the special election court to delay the opening for a month until the results of the court’s investigations about the fraud allegations are finalzed.

In a statement issued yesterday, UNAMA said: “Afghanistan’s peaceful future lies in the building up of robust democratic institutions based on the rule of law and clear respect for the separation of powers.”

It goes on to add that “UNAMA, the European Union, the United States, Canada and other concerned members of the international community continue to support a reasonable, enduring and peaceful resolution to this issue by the relevant Afghan stakeholders, with full respect for the Afghan Constitution and democratic principles, so that Parliament can convene as soon as possible.”

Afghan parliamentary elections were carried out in September but the results were not announced until late November following two months of “counting and reviews” by the Elections Complaints Commission.

However, Afghanistan general prosecutor’s office claimed the results were unacceptable due to instances of election fraud and proposed to prosecute the perpetrators.

The Elections Complaints Commission denounced the prosecutors office and accused it of political partisanship insisting that its final decision on the outcome of the elections is “unalterable.”

Finally President Karzai announced that a special court has been assigned to review the “legal claims” made against the election results which led to further antagonism of the Election Commission and announcement of the elected members that they are intent on holding the first meeting of the parliament on Sunday.

The elected representatives maintained that if they are prevented from entering the parliament buildings, they would convene their meeting elsewhere.

In the latest development in the disputes, President Karzai, in a meeting today with 34 elected parliamentary candidates, offered to open the parliament this week if all members agree to accept the verdict of the special court reviewing fraud allegations in the September elections, Pajhwok Afghan News reported citing a participating representative who wished to remain anonymous.