(Photo credit: REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz)
Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) announced on 24 October that only 26 out of 1,300 complaints filed against the results of parliamentary elections have been recognized as valid.
The IHEC, however, did not indicate that on what grounds the majority of complaints were rejected.
In a compromise to calm the public’s nerves, electoral authorities have announced they will recount 300 ballot boxes in the hotly contested elections.
Protesters have been spending days in sit-in demonstrations over the election results, as they strongly reject the victory of the political coalition led by influential Shia scholar Muqtada al-Sadr.
The October 10 elections, which recorded an all-time low turnout of 41 percent, has been the most controversial election since the US invasion of the country nearly 20 years ago.
The Sadrist movement won 73 seats in the Iraqi parliament, being named as the majority. On the other hand, in Shia-dominated cities like Najaf, 5 secular independent candidates won seats, which raised the alarm for several Shia majority parties such as the Fatah Alliance.
The Fatah Alliance, led by Hadi al-Ameri who succeeded Abu Mahdi Al Muhandis after he was assassinated by the United States in January 2020, is comprised of parties and affiliated with the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF)
The PMF has been the frontrunner in fighting against ISIS, and they have used Iran’s consultations in this fight. Therefore, the public assessment was that the Fatah Alliance would win the Shia-dominated cities such as Najaf.
Sadruddin Qubanchi, one of Najaf’s senior clerics called for election fraud in Iraq’s early parliamentary elections, claiming that the votes were counted in the UAE.
“Violations in the elections are more than definite,” he said.
He also called election fraud “brighter than the Sun.”
However, he called the fifth parliamentary elections a successful political and religious experience for the people of Iraq, saying, “The people did what they should have done. Now the ball is in political parties’ court.”
There were public demands to count the votes manually, but Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi rejected the demand.
Al-Kadhimi said that he fulfilled his commitment to holding early elections.
“We lived up to the promise we made to the people and held early elections. People also fulfilled their duties and elected their representatives, and these representatives will do their jobs at the parliament,” he noted, speaking at Al-Adhamiyeh district in Baghdad, while he was celebrating the birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The Fatah Alliance has announced its rejection of the vote results, indicating that they want to stop the democratic system of Iraq from being corrupted.