January 26, 2011
Reporting from Kabul — President Hamid Karzai, acting under heavy Western pressure, inaugurated the country’s new parliament on Wednesday but made plain his pique over being foiled in his efforts to delay the start of the session.
The swearing-in took place more than four months after a fraud-riddled vote for the lower house of the legislature, with no resolution in sight to conflicting claims over the election’s validity. Karzai set up a special court to resolve dozens of disputed races, but that move has been widely criticized as unconstitutional.
The Afghan leader last week tried to put off the inauguration for another month, but lawmakers rebelled and threatened to open the session themselves, even though the country’s president is legally obliged to preside over the swearing-in.