Iraq’s parliament, on Wednesday, passed a law mandating a manual recount of votes cast in the May 12 parliamentary elections.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, whose bloc finished in third place, reportedly said there were “dangerous” violations during the election and placed the blame squarely on the country’s Independent High Elections Commission (IHEC). However, Reuters reported that al-Abadi had banned high-ranking members of the IHEC from travel without his permission.
Iraqi Shiite Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, a long-time adversary of the United States and who over the years has come out in opposition to Iranian influence in Iraq, had his Sayirun (“On the Move”) Coalition join forces with several allied blocs in Iraq – including the Communist Party of Iraq – to be declared the winner of the nationwide elections.
According to Reuters, Iraq’s “Parliament on Wednesday voted for amendments to the election law which force the IHEC to conduct a manual recount, after it had initially declined to do so. It also suspended the commission’s leadership, which is to be replaced 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,” the text of the amendment law reportedly read.
Results from overseas voting and from displaced voters, mainly in the Sunni-majority Anbara, Salahudin, Diyala and Nineveh provinces, were reportedly also canceled.
A Korean company named Miru Systems was awarded a $135 million contract for the voting system that was used during this most recent election. The electronic vote counting system reportedly includes approximately 70,000 devices and was introduced by IHEC based on their belief that they could reduce fraud and shorten the time it takes to count election results.
Reuters reported, “Several political groups had voiced opposition to the use of the devices before the election, but not Abadi, who approved their introduction and supported their use.”