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Afghan election commission expels 9 lawmakers

From Matiullah Mati, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The nine are among 62 lawmakers who face election fraud allegations
  • A special court set up to prosecute the alleged fraud has been dissolved
  • The election was marked by extensive fraud, critics say

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- The Afghan election commission on Sunday expelled nine lawmakers who faced election fraud allegations.

A special court set up by President Hamid Karzai had been prosecuting alleged electoral fraud by 62 parliament members. The nine were among them.

The election commission announced the expulsions Sunday, four days after the special court was dissolved.

For months, Afghanistan has been mired in legal wrangling over the legitimacy of roughly one-quarter of the lawmakers in the country's 249-seat lower house of parliament.

Critics of the Afghan president have long suggested that the creation of the special court had been part of an effort to stack the lower house with Karzai supporters.

In announcing its dissolution Wednesday, Karzai said the country's electoral commission has final say over election outcomes, noting that Afghan courts cannot change electoral results.

On Sunday, the commission head Fazl Ahmad Manawi did not say whether other lawmakers will be unseated in coming days.

The new parliament was inaugurated in January after a nationwide election that critics said was marked by extensive fraud.