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Iraqi Parliament Approves Manual Recounting of Election Votes

Iraqi Parliament Approves Manual Recounting of Election Votes

Tuesday, 29 May, 2018 - 07:00
Officials empty a ballot box after the close of the polling station during Kurds independence referendum in Erbil, Iraq September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Azad .

Iraq’s parliament successfully held its fourth emergency session to discuss election results on Monday, pushing the session until late afternoon while waiting for holding quorum. At least 165 lawmakers need to be attending for a parliamentary session to kick off legitimately.

More so, the Iraqi parliament approved manual recounting of 10 percent of votes in the May 12 parliamentary election amid allegations of fraud, forgery and irregularities.

If there is 25 percent difference between the results of the manual and electronic count, then all Iraqi provinces are to undergo a full manual recount.

The parliament’s decision also called for ‘voiding expat votes and conditional voting in internal displacement camps in Anbar, Salahuddin, Nineveh and Diyala provinces.’

Their votes were cancelled out due to the abundance in evidence of forgery and dissuasion of voters.

For his part, Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri called on judicial authorities and the Integrity Commission charged with probing election results to maintain the democratic practice in the political process in the country.

Jabouri said that authorities work towards eliminating errors or manipulation that could have tampered with the Iraqi votes, pointing out that the emergency session came after the excesses of evidence of foul play affecting results were mounting.

For his part, the Al-Ahrar Bloc MP Riyad Ghali Saadi said several violations occurred with Monday’s emergency session.

In a press conference, Saadi said that the extraordinary session has seen several violations, where there was no official invitation to attend, and no agenda.

He pointed out that quorum was not completed with only 140 attending MPs, mostly of the blocs which lost the election.

On May 19, the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) announced the final results of the parliamentary election, which showed that the al-Sa'iroon Coalition, led by Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, was the front-runner by winning 54 of the 329 parliament seats.

The al-Fath Coalition, led by Hadi al-Ameri, came in the second place with 47 seats, while the al-Nasr Coalition, led by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, came in third with 42 seats. The State of Law Coalition, headed by Vice President and former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, garnered 25 seats.

Head of the parliamentary Legal Committee Mohsen al-Saadoun said that the decisions taken by the House of Representatives on the elections have no real-time impact. But some notable politicians disprove saying that the parliamentary decision is binding.

“Decisions do not annul the laws voted upon. Law No. (45) issued by Parliament approved the issue of electronic voting, and cannot be canceled by the decision of manual counting," head of the Iraqi Front for National Dialogue MP Saleh al-Mutlaq told Asharq Al-Awsat.

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