Hamid Karzai in parliament

Amidst widespread controversy, Afghanistan’s new parliament finally convened for the first time yesterday after the September elections.

Last week, Hamid Karzai announced that it has accepted the recommendation of a special election court to postpone the opening of the parliament for another month but fierce pressure from the elected MPs as well as the international community led Karzai to reconsider this decision.

President Karzai said they had faced serious difficulties in the process of the elections, protection of the ballot and foreign interference.

He added that he will make every effort to return all government affairs especially the process of elections to the hands of the Afghan people.

“There is no doubt that if the elections are carried out by the Afghan people, they would be more transparent, less costly and more advantageous to the cause of democracy in Afghanistan,” Karzai told the representatives.

Karzai went on to say that Regional Reconstruction Teams and a number of unnecessary international organizations in Afghanistan have become serious obstacles in the way of building the government and insisted that such parallel power constructions which challenge the integrity of the government should be dissolved.

Provincial Reconstruction Teams consist of military as well as non-military personnel which have been established by Western countries in the provinces of Afghanistan.

Afghan parliamentary elections were carried out in September and the results were announced after almost two months of counting and review by the elections complaints committee.

Soon after Afghanistan Prosecutor General’s office challenged the results and called for more detailed investigation of the complaints.

Hamid Karzai consequently appointed a special court to review the complaints which has announced that the despite the opening of the parliament, it will continue its investigations regarding allegations of violation and fraud in the elections.