Iraqi Parliament Amends Electoral Law

Iraqi Parliament Amends Electoral Law

Thursday, 7 June, 2018 - 10:00
Iraqi Parliament. Asharq Al-Awsat
Baghdad - Hamza Mustafa
Iraq's parliament on Wednesday voted in favor of amending the country's election law to allow a manual ballot recount for the parliamentary elections held on May 12 on allegations of voter fraud.

During its session, 173 lawmakers ordered the vote recount from all polling stations and referring members of Iraq’s Independent High Elections Commission (IHEC) to the integrity commission.

The parliament appointed nine judges to supervise the manual recount instead of the current members of the Commission, according to Kurdish MP Sarwa Abdulwahid.

She told Asharq Al-Awsat that the parliament’s majority passed the law on Wednesday ordering a nationwide manual recount of votes in the election. The amendment also canceled the results of overseas voting and the votes of the displaced in some provinces.

The amendments to the electoral law included "re-counting and manual counting of the results of the elections" and the suspension of the work of the Board of Commissioners and directors of UNHCR offices in the provinces and replacing them.

The legislature’s move came after recommendations from the Special Ministerial Inquiry Committee, which confirmed the occurrence of major violations, and made several recommendations, namely partial manual recount and preventing UNHCR officials from traveling abroad until the completion of investigations.

In his opening remarks, Speaker Salim al-Jubouri stressed that the purpose of the extraordinary session was "to correct the electoral process".

Legal expert Ahmad al-Abbadi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the process of manual counting and re-counting needs to be amended because the law approved by the parliament in 2013 stipulated that counting and sorting should be electronic.

He asserted: "This ambiguity must be resolved."

A parliamentary source, who asked not to be named, considered that the biggest beneficiaries of this process were al-Jubouri and Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi.

Turkmen MP for the province of Kirkuk, Hassan Turan indicated that the high attendance during the parliamentary session confirmed beyond any doubt that all political blocs want to distance themselves from fraud.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that the amendments of the law are important at this stage, especially that the government and parliament challenged the election results.

MP Mishaan al-Jubouri also told the newspaper that the parliament’s move “prepares the legal ground for the judiciary to take action.”

He added that his bloc will accept whatever decision that the judiciary takes.

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