Iraq election body says results will change as it begins new recount

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - Iraq’s electoral body said on Monday that it will begin manual recount of votes from some polling stations subject to complaints and that it expects the results will change.

The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) said that out of 1,436 appeals submitted, only 21 were not rejected and six resulted in the cancellation of results from some polling stations.

This "will change the seats of the winners in the new parliament,” Imad Jamil, a member of the commission's media team, told state media.

Results have been cancelled at polling stations in Babel and Erbil provinces, Haiman Tahseen, who manages party affairs at the commission, told Rudaw English. 

Hoshyar Zebari, a senior Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) official, tweeted Monday evening that their party lost two seats "by political manipulation… The election process was fair [and] clean but the outcome was unfair [and] unjust.” 

The commission is still processing complaints and on Tuesday will begin select manual recounts in Dhi Qar, Nineveh, Muthanna, Najaf and Baghdad provinces. Most of the appeals submitted were rejected for lack of evidence or detail.

Iraq held a parliamentary election on October 10 and the IHEC announced official preliminary results a week later, with the Sadrist Movement, Taqadum, KDP, and the State of Law Coalition securing the most seats. Parties affiliated with the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF or Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic) performed poorly and the Fatih Alliance saw its parliamentary seats reduced by two thirds.

The PMF-allied parties have rejected the results and their supporters have staged repeated protests, most recently on Friday. Qais al-Khazali, secretary-general of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, one of the pro-Iranian PMF militias, last week met with the head of the United Nations mission in Iraq and said he presented her with evidence of electoral fraud. 

Shiite cleric and leader of the top-performing Sadrist Movement commended the electoral commission for their efforts and condemned political and security pressures on the commission.

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani met with the Dutch ambassador to Iraq on Monday. Both agreed that "disputes regarding the outcome of the elections should be settled through legal and constitutional channels and that after accepting the results, negotiations should start to form the new Iraqi cabinet,” a statement from the presidency said.

On Sunday, a member of the IHEC team told state media that the appeals made against the preliminary results have had an "impact” on the final outcome and that the commission will announce the results once all appeals are decided by the judiciary.

Within 15 days of the Supreme Court’s ratification of the results, the current president will call for a parliamentary meeting chaired by its eldest member to elect a speaker and two deputies by an absolute majority. The parliament then elects a new president by a two-thirds majority who will task the largest parliamentary bloc to name a prime minister.


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