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Iraq: Supreme Court Settles Debate over Amendment of Electoral Law

Iraq: Supreme Court Settles Debate over Amendment of Electoral Law

Friday, 22 June, 2018 - 10:15
Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission employee closes a ballot box at a polling station during the parliamentary election in Baghdad, Iraq, May 12, 2018. Reuters/ Abdullah Dhiaa al-Deen/File Photo

The Supreme Federal Court of Iraq has upheld Parliament’s decision to manually recount votes of the May 12 elections, but rejected the annulment of IDP and diaspora votes, thus ending a heated debate between the country’s political blocs since the announcement of elections' results.

Earlier this month, Parliament had amended the election law in an extraordinary session, because of doubts over “widespread fraud” due to the adoption of the electronic counting and sorting system.

The amendment provided for a manual counting of votes and the cancellation of the votes of IDP committees and Iraqis living abroad. In response, the High Electoral Commission challenged the amendment before the Supreme Court, which announced its ruling on Thursday.

“Parliament’s session to amend the election law is legal, as per Article 60 (1) and (2), of the Constitution, and the rules of procedure of the House of Representatives, which has exercised its authority in accordance with the Constitution,” said the Court chairman, Medhat al-Mahmoud, in a press conference.

He explained that the Court has decided, “after studying the articles of this law in its final version and the proceedings of the parliamentary session,” that “the manual recount of the results was in line with the Constitution,” adding that Parliament’s move was aimed at reassuring the voters.

Constitutional Expert Jamal al-Asadi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Federal Court has approved new constitutional principles, “including the right for Parliament to enact laws in an extraordinary session and not to send them to the President of the Republic.”

Iraqi Minister of Migration and Displacement Jassem al-Jaff expressed his support for the decision of the Federal Court. He told Asharq Al-Awsat that the decision was fair and in conformity with the Constitution, “which reaffirms the neutrality of the Supreme Court and the Iraqi Judiciary.”

Several political blocs have also welcomed the Court’s ruling, including the Wataniya coalition, led by Iyad Allawi, the Victory coalition, headed by Haider Al-Abadi and the Decision alliance, led by Osama al-Nujaifi.

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