Iraq to probe alleged fraud in Parliamentary election

Baghdad: The Iraqi government held a meeting on Thursday to discuss allegations of fraud and irregularities in the Parliamentary election held on May 12.

The Iraqi Council of Ministers (cabinet), headed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, met with top judicial and intelligence officials and the security committee of the electoral commission to discuss immunity of the electronic devices used in casting and counting the votes for the first time in the Iraqi election, Xinhua reported.

The cabinet appointed a special committee to investigate the allegations before sending its recommendation to the council of ministers, high judicial council and the federal court to take their decision about the election process and its results.

Many Iraqi parties, especially in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan and the disputed areas, including Kirkuk province, have complained about alleged irregularities and forgery in the parliamentary election.

The complaints put the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) under pressure, as the electoral commission has not carried out manual recount of many ballot boxes and depended only on the electronic count of the votes.

Earlier, Riyadh al-Badran, head of the electoral commission, told a press conference that “there is no justification for a manual recount yet,” despite many accusations of voter fraud.

On May 13, al-Wataniyah (National) Coalition, led by Vice President Ayad Allawi, called for a re-vote of the May 12 Parliamentary election due to a low turnout of Iraqi voters and irregularities.

On May 17, the United Nations special envoy to Iraq Jan Kubis issued a statement, calling on the IHEC to carry out an immediate and thorough investigation into all complaints concerning the election.

The Iraqi Parliament also called on May 19 for measures to instill confidence in the election process after complaints by political entities of alleged irregularities and forgery.

On the same day, the electoral commission announced the final results of the Parliamentary election, which showed that the al-Sa’iroon Coalition, led by Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, was the front-runner and won 54 seats in the upcoming 329-seat Parliament.

The results showed that al-Fath Coalition, led by Hadi al-Ameri, came in the second place with 47 seats, while the al-Nasr Coalition, led by Abadi, came in third with 42 seats. The State of Law Coalition, headed by Vice President and former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, garnered 25 seats.