The controversy over Iraq’s May 2018 election took another turn. The Iraqi Election Commission (IEC) announced that it was cancelling the votes from over 1,000 voting stations. This comes as the parliament met for a second time demanding the government and courts take action on the numerous fraud charges.
For the second time, the Iraqi Election Commission cancelled the votes from polling stations. The votes from 1,021 stations were thrown out. 102 of them had serious complaints in Irbil, Anbar, Bhagdad, Ninewa and Salahaddin, which led to the Commission to investigate them. Another 2,000 stations were checked because there were believed to have problems. Of those, 852 were cancelled and covered Anbar, Baghdad, Diyala, Dohuk, Ibil, Kirkuk, Ninewa, Salahaddin, and Sulaymaniya. Another 67 from foreign voting in England, Germany, Jordan, Sweden, Turkey, and the U.S. were also thrown out. Just over a week ago, the IEC discarded another 103 stations in Anbar, Baghdad, Irbil, Ninewa, and Salahaddin. The Commission has received over 1,000 complaints from a variety of parties and sections of the country. The fact that the IEC has on the one hand, rebuffed most charges over the process and its own role, and then on the other, thrown out so many ballots only feeds the critics.
Some of this is sour grapes by parties that either lost or did not do as well as they thought they would. In other cases, there appears to be serious cheating going on. The first has been shown in the last two sessions of parliament. After three tries, enough parliamentarians showed up to hold a session of the National Assembly to deal with the elections. It passed a non-binding resolution to throw out all the overseas ballots and the voting in displaced camps in Anbar, Diyala, Ninewa and Salahaddin, and demanded a 10% manual recount. The legislature met again on May 30, demanding that the president and courts do their duty and deal with all of the irregularities. The fact that this had no impact on the process, showed that parties were simply playing politics with the matter. Complaints have to be filed with the Election Commission or lawsuits filed. In effect, the two sessions then were just for show, and to make more charges against the election.
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Buratha News, “The parliament is calling on state authorities to block parties trying to cover mistakes in the electoral process,” 5/30/18
Mostafa, Mohamed, “Iraq cancels parliament election results at more than 1000 stations,” Iraqi News, 5/30/18
Nawzad, Kosar, “Iraq’s electoral commission chief defends vote results,” Kurdistan 24, 5/29/18
Rudaw, “Iraq election body throws out votes from 103 polling stations,” 5/21/18
Xinhua, “Iraqi electoral commission cancels ballots of over 1,000 polling stations over irregularities,” 5/30/18