Baghdad (AFP) – Iraq’s parliament Wednesday ordered a manual recount of the May 12 legislative elections and sacked the commission which oversaw the polls that resulted in a surprise victory for a populist Shiite cleric.
After several failed attempts because of a lack of quorum, 173 members of the outgoing 328-seat house met to order a recount at all polling stations, covering almost 11 million votes, in response to charges of electoral fraud.
The nine-member independent commission was dismissed and is to be replaced by judges.
Confusion has gripped Iraq since the vote won by Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr’s electoral alliance with communists, even with negotiations to form a new government underway.
Since last month’s victory of anti-establishment electoral lists, long-time political figures pushed out by Iraqi voters hoping for change have been calling for a recount.
According to intelligence services, tests of electronic voting machines — used for the first time in Iraqi elections — produced varied results, appearing to give credence to the fraud claims.
Parliament already voted last week to annul the ballots of displaced Iraqis and those living abroad.