Recount reveals Iraq’s Sadr retains election victory, no main adjustments

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Populist Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr retained his lead in Iraq’s May parliamentary election, outcomes of a nationwide recount of votes confirmed on Friday, positioning him to play a central position in forming the nation’s subsequent authorities.

FILE PHOTO – Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who’s bloc got here first, meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who’s political bloc got here third in a May parliamentary election, in Najaf, Iraq June 23, 2018. REUTERS/Alaa al-Marjani

Iraq’s Independent High Election Commission (IHEC) launched the outcomes of the recount on its web site early on Friday. Parliament ordered the recount in June after widespread allegations of fraud solid doubt on the integrity of the poll.

The IHEC stated the outcomes of the recount matched the preliminary outcomes from 13 of Iraq’s 18 provinces.

The successful events are nonetheless embroiled in negotiations over forming the subsequent governing coalition three months after the vote, with no signal of an imminent conclusion.

The recount didn’t alter the preliminary outcomes considerably, with Sadr conserving his tally of 54 seats.

A gaggle of Iran-backed Shi’ite militia leaders remained second behind Sadr’s bloc however gained an additional seat that pushed them to 48, with incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s bloc nonetheless in third place with 42 seats.

Abadi, who’s searching for a second time period in workplace, is heading a fragile caretaker authorities till a brand new one is shaped.

The political uncertainty over the make-up of the brand new authorities has raised tensions at a time when public impatience is rising over poor fundamental companies, unemployment and the sluggish tempo of rebuilding after a three-year conflict with the Islamic State militant group.

Anger is mounting with frequent protests, backed by Iraq’s high Shi’ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, going down within the Shi’ite southern provinces.

Sadr, who additionally backs the protests, has issued a listing of 40 situations he says the brand new prime minister has to fulfill, together with being politically unbiased and never operating for re-election, for his bloc to affix a governing coalition and that he would go into opposition if the situations weren’t met.


The guide recount has been politically contentious from the beginning, though it was by no means anticipated to broadly alter the outcomes.

The IHEC stated on Monday it had accomplished the recount however was pressured to chop the method quick within the capital, Baghdad, as a result of voting information had been destroyed by a warehouse hearth two months in the past.

The hearth broke out hours after parliament ordered the recount and suspended the electoral fee’s management, changing it with a panel of judges, after a authorities report concluded there have been severe violations in an preliminary depend utilizing an digital vote-counting system.

The digitized system was supposed to assist regulate and pace up vote-counting. However, critics have claimed the tabulation system in digital voting machines that had been used for the primary time weren’t safe sufficient from tampering.

The IHEC ignored an anti-corruption physique’s warnings concerning the credibility of the digital machines used within the election, a doc seen by Reuters confirmed.

The gadgets, supplied by South Korean firm Miru Systems underneath a cope with the IHEC, are on the coronary heart of fraud allegations that led to the guide recount.

Concerns concerning the election depend middle on discrepancies within the tallying of votes by the voting machines, primarily within the Kurdish province of Sulaimaniya and the ethnically combined province of Kirkuk, and ideas that the gadgets might have been tampered with or hacked into with a view to skew the consequence.

However, the recount outcomes confirmed no vital adjustments in both province.

Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; Additional reporting by Mohamed el Sherif in CAIRO; Editing by G Crosse, Toni Reinhold and Paul Tait

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