Afghan MPs call for new parliament to be inaugurated

Image caption,
The vote was held in September but parliament has still to sit

About 100 MPs in Afghanistan have urged President Karzai to inaugurate the new parliament without further delay.

The group, calling itself the Administrative Board, said it had passed a resolution calling for the inauguration to take place by Sunday.

The move follows reports that the attorney general wants last September's parliamentary election annulled.

A spokeswoman for the group said President Karzai was behind the attempt to wipe out the results.

She said the attorney general had no authority to do so.

Correspondents say that September's parliament poll - and the presidential poll of 2009 - have been dogged by fraud allegations which have damaged the credibility of President Karzai and his government at a time when US and Nato leaders are assessing their long-term commitment to Afghanistan.

Although final general election results from the country's 34 provinces were released on 1 December, there has so far been no attempt to convene parliament.

Critics say that is because President Karzai is not happy with the outcome of the poll, which has produced a parliament with a larger, more vocal and coherent opposition than the previous chamber.

The new parliament contains larger groups of ethnic Tajiks and Hazaras - correspondents say - who may challenge the president's traditional power base among Pashtuns, Afghanistan's largest ethnic group.

There are 249 seats in the lower house of the Afghan parliament.

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