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The New Arab

Iraq to manually recount ‘suspect’ ballots only

Iraqi electoral commission employees examine electronic counting machine print-outs during the May polls [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 June, 2018

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Only ballot boxes suspected to have been affected by fraud will be sent to Baghdad for a manual recount, in a bid to speed up the laborious process.
Iraq's elections commission says it has directed its branches to only send ballot boxes suspected to have been affected by fraud to Baghdad for a manual recount. The move is likely a bid to speed up the process of verifying the final result after a total recount was prompted by allegations of electoral fraud.

The order, issued by the commission on Sunday, paves the way for a partial recount of the roughly 11 million votes cast in national elections in May, which saw the alliance of the populist cleric Muqtada Sadr unseating many of the political elite who fell out of favour with voters due to suspected corruption.

Last month, Iraq's outgoing parliament ordered a full recount of the vote after results showed two-thirds of its members losing their seats. After a challenge by President Fuad Masum, Iraq's highest court last week ruled the recount was constitutional, however it ruled it should be limited to boxes where fraud is suspected to have occurred.

The commission said the UN would observe the recount but it did not set a date.

Parliament gathered on Sunday to discuss a law that would permit it to remain in session until the final election results are ratified, despite the fact its term constitutionally ends next week on June 30.

Meanwhile on Saturday, the incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Muqtada Sadr said they had formed an alliance in a bid to create a new government after May polls.

A statement said their alliance "transcends sectarianism and ethnic" issues "in order to speed up the formation of the new government and agree on the principles which serve the aspirations of our people".

A source close to Sadr's Marching Towards Reform alliance said the thorniest issue is who will fill the post of prime minister in the new government.

Abadi would like to keep the job but is meeting resistance from rivals who beat his bloc in the election.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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