The New Arab Logo

Breaking News
Iraq completes national election recount: State TV Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Iraq completes national election recount: State TV

The May 12 elections were the first since Iraq's victory over IS militants [Getty]

Date of publication: 6 August, 2018

Share this page:
  • 0

  • twitter
Iraq’s election commission has completed a manual recount of votes from a parliamentary election held in May, state television said on Monday.

Iraq has completed the manual recount of votes from its May election, state television reported on Monday.

Iraq's election commission announced the end of the recount two months after it was ordered by parliament following a government report that concluded there were serious violations in an initial count using an electronic vote-counting system.

But the procedure to recount the votes was marred by a fire that broke out in a warehouse where votes were stored, prompting the commission's leadership to be suspend and replaced with a panel of judges to supervise the recount.

The 12 May vote - the first election since Iraq declared defeat over the Islamic State group - was marred by allegations of fraud and irregularities, largely blamed on electronic voting machines meant to tabulate results speedily.

The devices, provided by South Korean company Miru Systems under a deal with the IHEC, and blamed for the fraud, have led to a manual hand recount, the results of which are yet to be announced.

Political leaders are still trying to form a government, with populist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's heading the alliance that won the vote.

The majority of concerns were raised over the results in the Kurdish province of Sulaymaniya and the ethnically-mixed province of Kirkuk, with suggestions the devices could have been tampered with or hacked.

The BSA report also referred to a letter from the Iraqi embassy in South Korea saying Miru Systems had assembled, but not manufactured, the equipment sent to Baghdad, and suggesting the price of the machines should have been lower.

A Miru official dismissed the assertion, insisting the company had made the equipment. He also said the "equipment does not lie" and that he and fellow employees had travelled to Iraq to examine the machines and found no evidence of hacking.

"We have checked our election device provided to Iraq after the fraud allegation erupted, and found out that there has been no malfunction in the device nor its system," he said.

Abdul Kareem Abtan, a member of a parliamentary fact-finding committee formed to investigate whether fraud was linked to the devices, said the committee had concerns about the system.

"The electronic vote counting devices were useless and completely not secure from tampering, and our conclusion was corroborated by results reached by a professional technical team from the Iraqi National Intelligence Service," he told Reuters.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, whose alliance came third in the election, said on 5 June that a government investigation had found serious violations in the election and blamed the IHEC for most of them.

Parliament, mainly MPs who had lost their seats in the election, pushed and ordered the manual recount.

The political uncertainty has fuelled tensions at a time when public impatience is growing over poor basic services, unemployment and the slow pace of reconstruction after a three-year war with IS which cost tens of billions of dollars.

The southern city of Basra was the epicentre of protests which also spread to Baghdad.

Miru's electronic voting machines have come under scrutiny elsewhere, including in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where the opposition has raised concerns before an election scheduled for December.

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab

The New ArabComments

Most Popular

Most Popular

    Read More