Afghanistan will be now five months without a parliament as President Hamid Karzai announced this week that he is delaying the seating of the new assembly for a month. The new parliament was scheduled to be inaugurated this Sunday, but President Karzai is taking the time to hear the arguments of the losing candidates who say the September election is invalid because of fraud.
There have been fears that the supporters of the losing candidates might join the Talibans in retaliation, and that violent clashes among rival factions might erupt.
The country’s population — already struggling to survive amidst war and escalating poverty — is bracing for the outcome of the hearings, which might annul the elections altogether.
A man gets a haircut from a street barber in downtown Herat, west of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Jan. 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Reza Shirmohammadi)
An Afghan child displays a broken doll found at a garbage dump outside Herat city, west of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Jan. 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Reza Shirmohammadi)
Afghan horsemen compete for a headless goat carcass during a traditional game of Buzkashi in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Jan. 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Ahmad Massoud)
An Afghan athlete sleeps on nails, as a colleague brakes a stone over his body during a show in Khost, Afghanistan, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011. (AP Photo/ Nishanuddin Khan)
An Afghan drug addict smokes heroin at a slum in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010 (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
An Afghan refugee boys put a clip on washed clothes in front of Dar al Aman palace, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Dec. 24, 2010. (AP Photo/ Ahmad Massoud)
Afghan boys jump down from old vehicles in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Jan. 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Ahmad Massoud)
Afghan men cross flooded water on a makeshift boat on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Dec. 31, 2010. (AP Photo/ Ahmad Massoud)
An Afghan family walks through downtown Herat, west of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, January 21, 2011. (AP Photo/ Reza Shirmohammadi)
An Afghan girl carries water in a plastic container as she ascends a slope on the way towards her house in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Dec. 27, 2010 (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
Afghan men offer evening prayers in the compound of blue mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadril)
Afghan President Hamid Karzai centre, looks on as he stands with Afghan orphans during a visit to President palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Jan. 5. 2011. (AP Photo/Ahmad Massoud/Pool)
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