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Afghan president: Courts cannot change election
Afghan president issues decree that courts cannot change election results
By The Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) ' Afghanistan's president issued a decree Wednesday stating that the country's courts do not have the power to alter election results, a move that appeared aimed at ending months of uncertainty over the parliament's legitimacy.

The Afghan parliament has been in limbo for months after a special court called for the removal of 62 sitting lawmakers, saying they won their seats through fraud.

In his decree, President Hamid Karzai said that the Independent Election Commission ' which organized the vote ' holds the final authority on deciding vote counts and results. Presidential spokesman Siamak Herawi said the commission will evaluate the court's findings and will decide if any candidates should be removed.

Many international observers have claimed that Karzai was using the court to pack the legislature with his supporters, and the country's Western allies have argued that the court's call for the lawmaker's removal was unconstitutional. Under Afghan law, only the IEC and a vote-fraud monitoring body are empowered to change the results.

Karzai's decree appeared to end the debate over who has final say in the election results.

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