Iraqi PM Abadi rejects election rerun amid fraud allegations

Iraqi PM Abadi rejects election rerun amid fraud allegations
2 min read
12 June, 2018
Iraq's election, which saw a surprise victory for nationalist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, has been marred by fraud allegations.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi lost the election to cleric Muqtada al-Sadr [Getty]
Iraq's incumbent prime minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday he opposed a repeat of paliamentary elections, which have been marred by fraud allegations.

Iraq's parliament last week ordered a manual recount of the May 12 legislative elections and sacked the commission which oversaw the polls that resulted in a surprise victory for populist Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Confusion has gripped Iraq since the vote won by Sadr's electoral alliance with communists, even with negotiations to form a new government underway.

At the weekend, a ballot box storage warehouse in Baghdad was damaged by fire, resulting in the arrest of three police officers and an electoral commission employee. Iraqi authorities said no ballot papers were destroyed in the blaze.

During his weekly press conference, Abadi called the fire a deliberate act and said the attorney general would bring charges against those who are trying to undermine the political process. 

He added only the Supreme Court could decide whether to re-run the election, which on Sunday appointed nine judges to supervise a manual vote recount.

Also on Tuesday, UN envoy to Iraq Jan Kubis called for an investigation into allegations of fraud and vote rigging, urging politicians to "work together in support of the steps to address the complaints concerning the electoral process".

Abadi also welcomed a nationwide disarmament initiative floated by Sadr on Friday, days after an ammunitions cache exploded in Baghdad killing 18 people.