Afghan election body to review poll dispute: Karzai

KABUL, Jul Thu Jul 7, 2011 12:17pm EDT

EDITORS' NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on their ability to report, film or take pictures in Tehran. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi

EDITORS' NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on their ability to report, film or take pictures in Tehran.

Credit: Reuters/Raheb Homavandi

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KABUL, Jul (Reuters) - Afghanistan's independent election body will review the ruling of a special court set up by President Hamid Karzai that overturned results for a quarter of the seats in the country's parliament, Karzai's palace said on Thursday.

It is an apparent back down by the Independent Election Commission -- which ran the foreign-funded September poll -- after it last month rejected the special court and described its cancellation of results as "unprofessional and non-transparent." The IEC was unavailable for comment on Thursday.

The IEC will now review the special court decisions and compare them to its own ballot findings. It will uphold any special court rulings it finds to be correct, Karzai's palace said in a statement.

The special court, established by a presidential decree after fraud-marred parliamentary elections last year, ordered 62 lawmakers elected in the September poll to vacate their seats in the 249-seat parliament.

Most lawmakers, including many who do not face losing their seats, reject the court and its ruling as unconstitutional and illegal. Many Afghan officials and international observers agree, and critics say the court was set up to further Karzai's agenda and silence opposition.

(Reporting by Hamid Shalizi; writing by Michelle Nichols; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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