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Iraq lawmakers order manual recount for parliament election votes

Muslim Times(Web Desk) -The Iraqi parliament has voted in favor of a manual recount of votes in the country’s May 12 parliamentary elections.

On Wednesday, lawmakers also voted for the suspension of Iraq’s Independent High Elections Commission (IHEC) and its replacement by nine judges.

“The Independent High Elections Commission shall commit to a manual recount in all voting centers in Iraq under the supervision of the Supreme Judicial Council and with the attendance of representatives from political groups and the United Nations,” said an amendment issued by the parliament.

It also annulled the results from overseas votes and those from internally displaced voters in Anbar, Salahudin, Diyala and Nineveh provinces.

The amendment also voided the future use of electronic vote-counting devices.

The votes were initially counted with an electronic system that was meant to stop fraud but is now being blamed for irregularities.

On Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said there were “dangerous” violations and that he mostly blamed the IHEC, high-ranking members of which he banned from exiting the country.

On May 28, Iraqi’s parliament predominantly canceled expats’ and internally displaced people’s votes in the parliamentary elections.

The Iraqi parliament also called for a manual recount of 10 percent of the general votes over fraud allegations.

It also called for members of the country’s election commission to resign.

The announcement came a few days after Abadi ordered the creation of a high-powered commission to look into the alleged irregularities in the parliamentary elections.

An official statement said a recent cabinet meeting chaired by the premier had named the Iraqi anti-graft chief as the head of the commission.

The statement further suggested that hackers may have manipulated the election results.

Moqtada al-Sadr’s Sairoon bloc won 54 out of 329 seats in the Iraqi parliament. The Fatah (Conquest) alliance, led by Badr Organization Secretary General Hadi al-Ameri, and Abadi’s Nasr (Victory) coalition finished second and third with 47 and 42 seats, respectively.

Over 7,000 candidates contested the 329 seats in the parliament that will choose a new president, prime minister and government in Iraq.

This is the fourth such polls since the 2003 US invasion that led to a sharp rise in sectarian tensions and ensuing terror-related violence in the Arab country.

The next prime minster will face the huge task of rebuilding a country shattered by the war against Daesh and the US invasion.

Daesh unleashed a campaign of death and destruction in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks. Iraqi army soldiers and allied fighters then launched operations to eliminate the terrorist group and retake lost territory.

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