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Officials with the Independent Election Commission could not be reached for comment.

Haqiq said a refusal by commission officials to cooperate could throw the entire election into doubt.

“If there is no cooperation with the special court by the IEC in the capital and in the provincial offices, if we cannot make a decision in this one month, then the nation will think about the illegitimacy and legitimacy of the election and the court will make a decision about that,” he said. His speech was greeted with applause by more than 100 losing candidates — some in full suits, some in traditional light tunics and turbans.

Winning candidates say Karzai has promised them he will defend the issued results. But there are also hundreds of losing candidates in the election, in which 2,500 contenders ran for 249 seats. Many of the losers say Karzai told them he believes they were wronged and that he will do everything to support further investigations.

Daoud Sultanzoi, a former parliamentarian from eastern Ghazni province where closed polling stations and fraud meant that very few votes were counted for the dominant Pashtun ethnic group, said he hoped the further investigation would renew Afghans’ faith in their government.

“When an election is derailed by the election commissions disregarding the law, those results are not legal results,” Sultanzoi said. “We don’t have a legal, legitimate parliament here.”

A group of more than 220 winning parliamentarians, meanwhile, gathered in an auditorium of the parliament to protest the delay.

“President Karzai gave us a date. … The postponement is illegal. President Karzai should stay true to his promise,” said Gul Pacha Majidi, a winning candidate from Paktia province.

The election has proved a nagging problem for Karzai’s government as it tries to focus with its NATO allies on fighting the Taliban in their southern strongholds. As politicians have argued over seats, violence has surged across the country.

On Wednesday, a roadside bombing killed 13 civilians in eastern Paktika province, while four border policemen were killed in a roadside bomb blast in southern Zabul province.

Violence on election day has made officials reluctant to call for repeat votes even in provinces where the results seem skewed disproportionately toward one ethnic group.

Karzai’s former presidential opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, argued that the president — who has often bulldozed laws through the legislature by issuing decrees during parliamentary recesses — benefits from keeping parliament in limbo as long as possible.

Karzai will be happier if there is no parliament,” Abdullah said.


Associated Press writer Amir Shah contributed to this report from Kabul.