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Nineteen Afghan MPs' election ruled invalid
Afghanistan's Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) on Sunday disallowed 19 winners in the country's parliamentary election. One of them was President Hamid Karzai's first cousin.
The candidates were disqualified as part of a probe into widespread claims of fraud
that tarnished the 18 September poll for the 249-seat lower house of parliament, the Wolesi Jirga.
The poll was Afghanistan’s second parliamentary election since the overthrow of the Taliban regime nine years ago.
"All the votes of 19 candidates who were declared winners in the preliminary results... have been nullified by the ECC due to massive fraud," ECC spokesperson Ahmad Zia Rafaat told a news conference in Kabul.
The results of two losing candidates, who had the next highest amount of votes and stood to gain by the disqualifications, were also struck out for the same reason, Rafaat added.
The candidates came from across the country. Most stood as independents, although some had links to senior Afghan officials, including Hashmat Khalil Karzai, the president's cousin, who stood in the southern city of Kandahar.
Seven people whose victories were cancelled were sitting MPs seeking reelection.
The ECC received more than 5,000 complaints of voter fraud from losing candidates and election authorities in the wake of the poll.
Of those, 2,500 complaints were classed as "serious".
Some 1.3 million of the total 5.6 million votes cast have already been cancelled. It is unclear whether there will be any more disqualifications.