Iraqi electoral commission cancels ballots of 103 polling stations over irregularities

Source: Xinhua| 2018-05-21 22:53:54|Editor: yan
Video PlayerClose

BAGHDAD, May 21 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) Monday said it has cancelled the ballots of 103 polling stations in five provinces after checking complaints over irregularities in May 12 parliamentary elections.

A statement by IHEC said it had labelled 33 complaints as "red" (serious complaints that affect results of polls), and after checking, the commission decided to abolish votes in 103 polling stations in the provinces of Anbar, Nineveh, Salahudin, Baghdad and Erbil.

The commission's statement did not clarify whether the decision included all the 33 complaints or part of them.

Early on Saturday, the electoral commission announced the final results of the parliamentary elections, 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 current Prime Minister Haider al-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.

The two major Kurdish parties, Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), headed by Masoud Barzani, and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) took the lead in the Kurdish region and in the ethnically-mixed province of Kirkuk with 25 seats for the KDP and 18 for the PUK, according to IHEC figures.

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

The complaints put the electoral commission under pressure to carry out manual recount of many ballot boxes. It had only collected the electronic count of the votes.

On Thursday, 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.

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 12, millions of Iraqis went to 8,959 polling centers across the country to vote for their parliamentary representatives in the first general election after Iraq's historic victory over the Islamic State (IS) group last December.