Iraq says to resume manual recount of suspect votes Monday

Security forces carry ballot boxes as smoke rises from a storage site in Baghdad, housing the boxes from Iraq’s May parliamentary election, Iraq June 10, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

Baghdad ( – The Iraqi elections commission said on Sunday that it will resume the manual recount of May 12 parliamentary election votes on Monday morning after it ended the process in the ethnically mixed province of Kirkuk last week.

Dijlah TV quoted Judge Laith Hamza, a spokesman for Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission, as saying that the “vote recount would resume Monday morning for ballot boxes at polling stations where vote-rigging and fraud were reported in the provinces of Basra, Maysan, Dhi Qar, Muthanna, al-Qadisiyah and Wasit.”

“Representatives of the UN, embassies, political parties, and media outlets will be allowed to attend the manual recount of votes, which will take place at the Baghdad International Fair,” Hamza noted.

The Sairoon coalition of Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr won 54 parliamentary seats in the May 12 parliamentary polls, followed by an al-Hashd al-Shaabi-linked coalition (47 seats) and Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi’s Victory bloc (42 seats), according to the election commission.

The vote results, however, have aroused widespread fraud allegations.

Al-Sadr’s coalition did not win the majority needed to form a government alone but will play a primary role in selecting the next prime minister.

Al-Sadr said he hoped to establish a “technocrat” cabinet far removed from narrow sectarian biases.

Known for his hostile approach to the U.S., al-Sadr is one of few Shia leaders who don’t have close ties with Iran.

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