Kabul: President Hamid Karzai issued a decree on Wednesday handing authority to resolve a long-running dispute over Afghanistan's 2010 parliamentary polls to the country's Independent Election Commission (IEC).

The decree dissolved Afghanistan's special election tribunal -- which Karzai had backed -- and disqualified other government bodies from ruling on the highly sensitive issue, which is being eagerly watched by diplomats in Kabul.

Observers say they hope the decree could be a step towards breaking the paralysis that has dogged the Afghan parliament since its inauguration in January, as US-led NATO troops start limited withdrawals.

The decree said the IEC should "immediately finalise" the issue and added: "After this decree, all issues of the Wolesi Jirga (parliamentary) elections processed in any other body, apart from the IEC, are considered ended."

The IEC had certified the election results last November but will now have to issue a fresh ruling, following months of controversy.

An official in Karzai's office, speaking anonymously because he was not authorised to speak to the media, explained, though, that the IEC would have to base its findings on previous court rulings.

"The president is asking the IEC to make a final decision based on the evidence, findings and verdicts of the special court and the appeal court," said sources.