Iraq plans manual election recount only for suspect ballots

Arab News, 24 June 2018

parliamentary election has been marred by historically low turnout and fraud
An Iraqi
woman casts her vote at a polling station during the parliamentary election in
Baghdad, Iraq May 12, 2018. (Reuters)

Iraq will conduct a manual recount of votes from a May election only for
ballots mentioned in official reports on fraud or in formal complaints, a move
likely to speed up the ratification of final results and the formation of a new

parliamentary election has been marred by historically low turnout and fraud

outgoing parliament this month passed a law mandating a nationwide manual
recount of votes, but the panel of judges now in charge of the recount said it
would only be conducted for problematic ballots.

a ruling from the Supreme Federal Court, a panel of judges who are now in
charge of the elections commission said on Sunday they would only manually
recount problematic ballots “out of respect for the will of voters and their
rights … and to preserve their vote which came without any violation.”

The law
passed by parliament had also suspended the Independent High Election
Commission’s nine-member board of commissioners and replaced them with judges.

boxes from areas where there were fraud allegations will be moved to the
capital Baghdad, where the recount will be held in the presence of United
Nations representatives at a time and place to be determined later, the panel
said in a statement.

historically slow and complex process of forming an Iraqi government after an
election has been further complicated this time round because of the fraud
allegations and subsequent recount. Now that only specific ballots will be
recounted, a new government could be formed faster.

The full
recount was voted for by an outgoing parliament in which a majority of
lawmakers, including the speaker, failed to retain their seats in the May poll.
The vote came after a government report said there were serious electoral
violations, but the report only recommended a partial recount.

met on Sunday to discuss another law that would allow it to remain in session
until final results are ratified, even though its term constitutionally ends
next week on June 30.

Minister Haider Al-Abadi, who’s electoral list came third in the poll, and the
winner, cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr, entered into a political alliance on Saturday
night, less than two weeks after Sadr announced a similar alliance with
second-placed Iran ally Hadi Al-Amiri’s bloc, thus bringing the top three blocs

bloc has been boycotting parliament’s sessions. He and Amiri were against a
full recount. Both Sadr and Abadi oppose the idea of the current parliament
extending its mandate.