Iraq's manual election recount to begin Tuesday

Iraq's manual election recount to begin Tuesday
2 min read
30 June, 2018
Iraq's May elections were marred by allegations of fraud after the elections commission introduced electronic voting machines to tabulate the results speedily.
The May elections were marred by allegations of fraud. [Getty]
Iraq's national elections commission says a hand recount of the vote from last May's parliamentary elections will start on Tuesday.

Leith Jaber Hamza, spokesman for the Independent High Electoral Commission, said Saturday the recount would be monitored by the United Nations, as well as foreign diplomats and local party officials.

The May elections were marred by allegations of fraud after the elections commission introduced electronic voting machines to tabulate the results speedily.

The Supreme Court approved a partial recount of the paper ballots earlier this month. No deadline was set for its completion.

The initial results gave a bloc organised by the populist Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr the largest share of the vote. Sadr urged his supporters to respect the decision to hold a recount.

On Tuesday, the 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".

Last month's election saw a record number of abstentions as Iraqis snubbed the corruption-tainted elite who have dominated the country since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

Less than half of Iraq's 24-million electorate took part, dumping the old guard in favour of Sadr's alliance followed by a list of former fighters of the Hashd al-Shaabi alliance that last year played a key role in the defeat of the Islamic State group.

But the old guard - rejected by Iraqi voters - have clamoured for a recount, although experts say it is unlikely to produce a major change in the number of seats won by their rival lists.