Iraq's electoral commission begins manual recount to finalise ballot results

Final results have yet to be announced

Iraq’s electoral commission on Wednesday began a manual recount of votes from several polling stations where complaints were filed.

Final election results have yet to be announced almost three weeks after Iraqis cast their votes on October 10 to choose a new Parliament.

The delay comes after the commission received thousands of complaints from political parties, the public and candidates about early results that showed populist leader Moqtada Al Sadr was in the lead.

“Manual counting began at eight in the morning in the presence of political party officials and observers,” the commission said in a statement.

More than 2,000 ballot stations in various governorates are expected to manually recount the votes after the commission accepted appeals that opposed their results.

“Out of the 2,000 stations, 102 are from the northern province of Nineveh,” the commission said in a statement.

“Fifty observers and agents will be following up the progress of the recount,” said the statement.

On Sunday, the commission said it had assessed 483 complaints but rejected 461.

The 22 complaints that were accepted by the commission are distributed over 13 provinces and will be looked into, said the statement.

Next Monday is the deadline for the commission to finalise its review of the complaints.

Last week, the commission said it had received 1,372 appeals contesting the results.

Once all appeals are cleared by the Judicial Commission, the results will be sent to the High Federal Court for ratification, after which Iraqi President Barham Salih will have 15 days to call for the new Parliament to convene.

Initial results showed that Mr Al Sadr's party won a majority of 73 seats in the 329-member Parliament.

He campaigned as a nationalist as well as a critic of Iran and foreign intervention.

The commission said at least 167 parties and more than 3,200 candidates had competed for 329 seats.

Hundreds of supporters of Iraq's powerful Hashed Al Shaabi, a pro-Iranian former paramilitary force, began a sit-in near Baghdad's high-security Green Zone on Tuesday to protest “fraud” in the elections.

Last year, Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi called an early general election for June 2021, months before the planned date.

The decision was in response to demands from anti-government protesters, who since 2019 have staged mass public demonstrations. At least 600 people have been killed by militia groups and, in some cases, regular government security forces.

Updated: October 28th 2021, 4:57 AM
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