Afghan President Hamid Karzai has signed into law changes that remove foreign observers from the electoral watchdog tasked with reviewing voting fraud, his office said on Tuesday.
The five-member Electoral Complaints Commission previously had three members appointed by the United Nations, and last year nullified a third of Karzai's votes as fraudulent.
"The Afghan government for long has wanted to 'Afghanise' the electoral process and 10 days ago, the cabinet ratified the amendment and the president endorsed it," Karzai spokesman Siamak Herawi said.
He said parliament could not overturn the law, since Karzai had signed it into effect when the legislature was in recess.
The change raises the prospect of criticism that the overall elections commission, which is appointed by Karzai, would not be seen as independent.
The U.N.-backed watchdog threw out nearly a third of Karzai's votes, lowering his total below the 50 percent required to avoid a run-off.
Karzai was declared the winner after his main opponent pulled out before a planned second round.
ReutersLast Mod: 23 Şubat 2010, 22:50