Iraq to manually recount parliamentary election ballots

June 6 (UPI) — Iraq’s parliament, the Council of Representatives, on Wednesday agreed to manually recount ballots amid allegations of fraud in May’s parliamentary elections.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Tuesday there was “unprecedented” violations. The council ditched the leadership of the election commission and decided to annul votes from Iraqis out of the country.

The Sairoon coalition led by Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr won the May 12 election with 54 seats out of 328.

Abadi’s alliance came in third place with 42 seats. The prime minister said he accepted the results of the election until he read a report from anti-corruption officials.

“The committee has revealed dangerous things, honestly. Yes there may have been some violations by candidates but the election commission bears the largest share of the responsibility,” he said.

May’s election was the first time Iraq’s ballots were counted electronically and not by hand. The commission initially refused to manually recount ballots, but the Council of Representatives vote forced it to be done.

Mohammed Abu Kallal, who was working to join al-Sadr’s coalition, warned of potential violence if the recount is not completed by the end of the legislative term.

“We fear this decision will lead to a constitutional vacuum in the country if the results do not appear before June 30,” he said.

“We fear this decision will affect Iraq’s stability. We fear that the security situation will be chaos. We will not tolerate a new tragedy.”