A volunteer points out the place where a displaced woman from Sinjar can cast her vote in the parliamentary elections at a polling site in an IDP camp outside Erbil, Saturday, May 12, 2018. Photo: Bram Janssen / AP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IHEC) has received requests from six Arab lists for votes to be counted manually. The lists say there are a number of irregularities in the preliminary results of the May 12 parliamentary election.
“This request is based on the preliminary [unofficial] results revealed in the past hours,” an unnamed official told al-Ghad Press, an Iraqi media outlet.
The State of Law Coalition, al-Fatih (Conquer) Alliance, al-Wataniya (National) Coalition, the Qarar (Decision) List, the Irada (Determination) List, and the Baghdad Alliance have submitted requests.
Al-Wataniya Coalition, led by Ayad Allawi, a former prime minister of Iraq, called for an annulment of Saturday’s election.
“The refrainment of Iraqi people from voting in large numbers, the spread of violence, rigging, misinformation, purchase of votes, and exploitation of the conditions of the displaced” justify the annulment, read their statement, as reported by the BBC on Sunday.
State of Law Coalition is led by Nouri al-Maliki, predecessor of the incumbent prime minister Haider al-Abadi. Maliki said during the election campaign he does not support electronic vote counting, and that he is in favor of manual counting.
Nearly half of Iraqis eligible to vote headed to polling stations and cast their votes – a record low turnout in the post-Saddam era.
The request of the six Arab lists follows similar calls from Kurdish parties, who claimed the election machines were “hacked.”
A number of Kurdish parties accused the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) of tampering with the results. The party claims it has gained the biggest share of the vote in both Sulaimani and Kirkuk. Its rivals have demanded manual counting of votes.
This was followed by Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITC)’s statement, which also accused the PUK of fraud in Kirkuk. The ITC also called for manual counting of votes.
Later, Rakan Saeed, acting governor of Kirkuk, also rejected the results and called for manual counting of votes “in Baghdad.”