After manual recount of votes, Iraq's Sadr still comes out victorious

By REUTERS
August 10, 2018 06:24
2 minute read.
Breaking news

Breaking news. (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

BAGHDAD - Populist Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr retained his lead in Iraq's May parliamentary election, results of a nationwide recount of votes showed on Friday, positioning him to play a central role in forming the country's next government.

Iraq's Independent High Election Commission (IHEC) released the results of the recount on its website early on Friday. Parliament ordered the recount in June after widespread allegations of fraud cast doubt on the integrity of the ballot.

The IHEC said the results of the recount matched the initial results from 13 of Iraq's 18 provinces.

The winning parties are still embroiled in negotiations over forming the next governing coalition three months after the vote, with no sign of an imminent conclusion.

The recount did not alter the initial results significantly, with Sadr keeping his tally of 54 seats.

A group of Iran-backed Shi'ite militia leaders remained second behind Sadr's bloc but gained an extra seat that pushed them to 48, with incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's bloc still in third place with 42 seats.

Abadi, who is seeking a second term in office, is heading a fragile caretaker government until a new one is formed.

The political uncertainty over the makeup of the new government has raised tensions at a time when public impatience is growing over poor basic services, unemployment and the slow pace of rebuilding after a three-year war with the Islamic State militant group.

Anger is mounting with frequent protests, backed by Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, taking place in the Shi'ite southern provinces.

Sadr, who also backs the protests, has issued a list of 40 conditions he says the new prime minister has to meet, including being politically independent and not running for re-election, for his bloc to join a governing coalition and that he would go into opposition if the conditions were not met.



CONTENTIOUS RECOUNT

The manual recount has been politically contentious from the start, although it was never expected to widely alter the results.

The IHEC said on Monday it had completed the recount but was forced to cut the process short in the capital, Baghdad, because voting records had been destroyed by a warehouse fire two months ago.

The fire broke out hours after parliament ordered the recount and suspended the electoral commission's leadership, replacing it with a panel of judges, after a government report concluded there were serious violations in an initial count using an electronic vote-counting system.

The digitized system was intended to help regulate and speed up vote-counting. However, critics have claimed the tabulation system in electronic voting machines that were used for the first time were not secure enough from tampering.

The IHEC ignored an anti-corruption body's warnings about the credibility of the electronic machines used in the election, a document seen by Reuters showed.

The devices, provided by South Korean company Miru Systems under a deal with the IHEC, are at the heart of fraud allegations that led to the manual recount.

Concerns about the election count center on discrepancies in the tallying of votes by the voting machines, mainly in the Kurdish province of Sulaimaniya and the ethnically mixed province of Kirkuk, and suggestions that the devices could have been tampered with or hacked into in order to skew the result.

However, the recount results showed no significant changes in either province.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Breaking news
December 14, 2018
Facebook discovers bug that may have affected up to 6.8 million users

By REUTERS