Iraqi commission: parliament votes were sound, challenges welcome

elections (representational photo)

Baghdad ( Iraq’s High Electoral Commission said Thursday that the voting process during the country’s recent parliamentary elections was free of defects, stressing it welcomes any challenges to the process.

Riyad al-Badran, a senior commission official, was quoted by Alsumaria News saying in a press conference in Baghdad that “elections were held under a local and international observation”, urging all sides “to respect the will of the people”.

According to Badran, “results of the elections were sound and correspondent to what was found in the ballot boxes”, adding that “devices adopted in the elections gave matching results”.

The official said the commission was anxious to address any violations and hold those behind them accountable.

Commenting on the recent decision by the Iraqi parliament to run a recount of 10 percent of ballot boxes and to cancel voting results at more than 1000 stations, Badran said “the commission respects the parliament’s decisions…we will wait for the opinion of the federal court in that respect”.

“We are not concerned about the call for a manual recount”, Badran said, adding that the commission closed the door today for receiving challenges to the electoral process, and would conclude the review of those challenges ( totalling 1875) in 10 days.

According to official results, Prime Minister Haider Abadi’s al-Nasr list came third. First came Saeroon list, sponsored by Shia leader, Muqtada al-Sadr, a populist seeking to break away from Iranian influence and scathingly opposed to foreign military presence in Iraq. Second came al-Fatah, an alliance of former leaders of the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces, the Shia-led troops that backed government forces campaign, under Abadi, to drive out Islamic State militants since 2014.

Accusations of forgery flew after the end of votes on May 12th. Abadi’s office said the prime minister had referred to the Integrity Authority a violation by the electoral commission related to its failure to hire a specialized firm to check and verify the soundness of electronic vote counters.

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