- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 13, 2009

KABUL, Afghanistan (Agence France-Presse) | A senior Afghan judge resigned Monday from one of Afghanistan’s election bodies, saying it is unduly influenced by its foreign U.N.-appointed members.

Mustafa Barikzai, a Supreme Court judge, was one of two Afghans on the five-member Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC), which is investigating allegations of fraud in the Aug. 20 presidential elections.

The elections have been overshadowed by allegations of fraud, mostly against the incumbent, President Hamid Karzai, including findings by EU observers that a quarter of all votes, or 1.5 million, were suspicious.

Mr. Karzai leads preliminary results, with about 55 percent of the vote. He needs 50 percent plus one vote to be declared the winner.

His main rival, Abdullah Abdullah, has about 28 percent.

The ECC is an independent body set up under Afghanistan’s electoral law to investigate and adjudicate complaints about election fraud, and was re-established for this year’s poll.

It has two Afghan commissioners - one appointed by Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission and one by its Supreme Court - and three internationals appointed by Kai Eide, the U.N.’s special representative to Afghanistan. Mr. Eide admitted Sunday that the elections were marred by massive fraud.

Judge Barikzai told reporters in Kabul that the three foreign commissioners were “influenced by specific foreign circles.”

“Respecting the Afghan people’s votes and following the principles of the Afghan constitution (were) of no value for the foreign members of the commission,” he said.

President Obama is expected to decide shortly on a recommendation by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, for additional U.S. troops.

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