Initial results of Iraq assembly poll dogged by dispute

Disputes emerge between electoral commission, political parties over unofficial results of Saturday’s poll
BAGHDAD: Unofficial results of Iraq’s recent parliamentary election appear to have triggered conflict between members of Iraq’s official electoral commission.
Disputes have also reportedly emerged between commission members and political parties that performed worse than expected, according to preliminary results announced earlier this week.
On Wednesday, commission spokesman Karim al-Tamimi alleged that one commission member — Said Kakani — had received death threats from the Movement for Change (Gorran) party.
Disputes appear to have emerged between commission officials themselves, with Kakani later denying al-Tamimi’s assertion.
In a televised statement late Thursday, Kakani said he had “not received any threats — verbal or otherwise — from any political group”.
“All I told commission members was that the Movement for Change could lose a seat or two in Sulaymaniyah and Kirkuk,” he said.
He went on to say that he had asked for photos of polling stations to be distributed to any political parties that doubted the legitimacy of the initial poll results.
“The commission granted leave to some employees without my knowledge and prevented my security detail from entering commission headquarters,” Kakani said.
“There appears to have been a decision to relieve me of responsibilities — without any investigation — because I mentioned failures that occurred during the voting process,” he added.
“The commissioners’ board has refused to conduct a manual recount of five percent of the ballots,” Kakani said.
The electoral official added: “What’s more, I can’t ensure that the software [used in electronic voting machines] can’t be sold by the producers [opening the door to the possible manipulation of poll results].”
Iraq’s parliament on Saturday is slated to hold an emergency session to discuss complaints about — and disputes over — initial results of last week’s election.
As many as 80 lawmakers have demanded that commission officials be questioned over suspected electoral breaches.–AA

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