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Karzai bans courts from ballot role

Afghanistan's president has banned the country's courts from being able 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 MPs, saying they won their seats through fraud.

In his decree, President Hamid Karzai said that the Independent Election Commission - which organised the vote - holds the final authority on deciding vote counts and results.

A presidential spokesman said the commission will evaluate the court's findings and will decide if any candidates should be removed.

Many international observers have claimed that Mr 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 MPs' removal was unconstitutional. Under Afghan law, only the IEC and a vote-fraud monitoring body are empowered to change the results.

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

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