Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court ruled this week that the parliament’s decision to manually recount votes cast during last month’s election is constitutional, following widespread allegations of fraud at the polling booths.
Judge Medhat al-Mahmoud reportedly read a statement to the press that said the decision to recount the votes by hand was “correct.”
The Associated Press reported, “A hand recount of all 11 million ballots could take weeks, if not longer, and promises to delay the already sluggish process of forming a new government.”
One attorney reportedly told the publication that the recount would get Iraq “70, 80, 90 percent” of the way to having an untainted result.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court also rejected a measure that would have invalidated all ballots that were cast abroad, advanced ballots, and those cast by Iraqis displaced by the recent conflicts in the country and the general Iraqi diaspora.
The May 12 elections marked the first time ballots were counted electronically in Iraq.
This month, Breitbart News reported:
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.
The AFP reported that the United Nations stated it is ready to help and advise electoral authorities throughout the recount process.
UN Iraq envoy Jan Kubis reportedly said in a statement he was “confident” authorities would find ways to recount the vote quickly and “in a fully transparent way, that will increase public confidence in the election process.”
Last month, Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sayirun (“On the Move”) coalition, which joined forces with several other parties including Iraq’s Communist Party, was declared the winner of the parliamentary elections.
Prior to the official release of the election results, the Sadr’s party was believed to have won just one-sixth of Iraq’s 18 provinces.
The decision to manually recount the votes was reportedly also welcome by the nation’s Kurds. According to Kurdish news outlet Rudaw, Kurdish parties called the recount a “healthy step” towards restoring faith in the country’s political process.
Ismael Mandalawi, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)’s lawyer reportedly told Rudaw, “Thank God, the federal court accepted what we had appealed against and called for. It annulled the decision made by the parliament.”
This month, UPI reported that four people were arrested in connection to a blaze that broke out at a Baghdad warehouse that was believed to store election ballots. The suspicious fire broke out just days after Iraq’s Parliament ordered the recount.
Iraq’s current Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi reportedly said the June 10 fire was part of a plot to sabotage the vote and hurt Iraq’s democracy.
Despite this, al-Sadr reportedly called on his supporters to respect the recount ruling.
“I call on everyone to show restraint and deference to the law, even if they are not convinced by it,” al-Sadr reportedly said in a statement.