Iraq to start recount of suspect votes on July 3

Source: Xinhua| 2018-06-30 21:58:00|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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BAGHDAD, June 30 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi electoral commission said on Saturday that the manual recount for the May 12 parliamentary elections over irregularities and fraud will start on July 3.

A panel of nine judges, who replaced the nine members of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), decided that the recount of votes of suspect polling centers will be done "with the presence of IHEC members of each of the provinces of Kirkuk, Sulaimaniyah, Erbil, Dohuk, Nineveh, Salahudin and Anbar," Layth Jabur Hamza, spokesman of the judicial panel, said in a statement.

The recount will start from the votes in Kirkuk Province and then extend to the other provinces according to the dates to be set later by the commission, Hamza noted.

The manual recount for the suspect ballot boxes in the said provinces, which were already transferred to Baghdad, will be carried out in their specified places in the capital.

Meanwhile, the manual recount of the overseas votes in countries including Iran, Turkey, Britain, Lebanon, Jordan, the United States and Germany, will start when the ballot boxes are transferred to Baghdad, Hamza said.

If it is not possible to bring these ballot boxes to Iraq, the commission will take an appropriate decision later, he added.

The manual recount will be held in the presence of observers from the United Nations, representatives of foreign embassies in Iraq, agents of political parties, local and international observers and media, while the ministries of defense and interior will secure the recount process, the Iraqi spokesman said.

On June 24, the judicial panel decided that the manual recount for the May 12 parliamentary elections over irregularities and fraud will only apply to suspect polling centers mentioned by official reports and complaints.

On June 6, the outgoing parliament passed an amendment on the election law demanding manual recount of votes in all polling stations across Iraq over allegations of fraud and irregularities in the elections.

The parliament amendment was approved on June 21 by the country's federal court.

However, the panel of judges discussed the parliament law and reached an understanding that the recount would only be conducted for problematic ballots.

It is not yet clear to what extent the recount of votes will change the final results of the elections, but it would certainly delay the formation of the next government.

Many Iraqi parties, especially in the Kurdish region and the disputed areas, including Kirkuk Province, have complained about alleged irregularities and forgery in the parliamentary elections.

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 militant group last December.