Monday, May 28, 2018

Iraq Parliament Failed At Quorum Again To Discuss Election Fraud While Committee Formed To Look Into Charges


The May elections in Iraq continued to face more controversy. Parliament failed for a second time to hold a session to discuss fraud charges, political parties continued to complain about the results and protest, while the cabinet formed a committee to look into the problems, and the courts told the Election Commission it had to listen to all the appeals over the results.

On May 26, parliamentarians attempted and failed to hold a session to discuss the elections. Speaker Salim al-Jabouri said 149 deputies showed up, but that wasn’t enough for a quorum. This was the second time the National Assembly could not get enough lawmakers to talk about this matter. MPs said they would try again on May 28. Despite the complaints from a variety of parties against the balloting, they have not rallied their rank and file to attend parliament. This includes Turkmen and Arabs in Kirkuk, Vice President Maliki’s State of Law, Ammar Hakim’s Hikma, Vice President Allawi’s Wataniya, and the Kurdish opposition in Sulaymaniya. That has led to skepticism that Monday will be any different.

On the other hand, pressure on the Election Commission continued. The Commission set a deadline for all complaints and appeals to be filed by May 31. The Federal Supreme Court rejected a request to cancel the election results due to fraud, and said that all complaints had to be dealt with by the Commission. Prime Minister Abadi tried to assure the public that the Commission would investigate all charges. The cabinet also created a commission to look into the accusations. The Election Commission has been generally unresponsive to the political parties, so the court ruling may not change that. This is in part due to the regular practices of all government offices, and also because the Commission does not want its new electronic voting system to be disparaged, which would undermine the legitimacy of the process. By not forcefully dealing with all of the controversies however, the Commission is already doing that itself. The cabinet commission will likely be no better as these types of announcements are usually for public consumption to make it look like the government is doing something, and then nothing ever comes of them. So many parties from across the political spectrum are angry over the balloting this issue has to be resolved.

SOURCES

AIN, “URGENT Another extraordinary session of parliament next Monday,” 5/26/18

Aldroubi, Mina, “Iraqi supreme court rejects appeal to cancel election results,” The National, 5/27/18

Asharq Al-Awsat, “Iraqi Government Forms Committee to Verify Fraud Allegations,” 5/25/18

Baghdad Post, “Abadi says HEC to investigate election fraud allegations,” 5/24/18
- “Allawi calls on people to take to the streets as elections have been rigged,” 5/25/18

Hath al-Youm, “Judiciary: Issues a decision on the complaints of those who object to the election results,” 5/27/18

Iraq News Network, “The Electoral Commission sets a deadline for receipt of appeals,” 5/24/18

NINA, “Electoral Lists In Anbar Call On IHEC To Hand Over The Results Of Abroad And Displaced,” 5/25/18

Rudaw, “Election commission ‘manipulating’ votes, concealing fraud: 4 Kurdish parties,” 5/25/18
- “Kirkuk Arabs and Turkmen protest election fraud,” 5/24/18

Sulaivany, Karzan, “Iraqi Parliament fails to meet quorum in emergency session following elections,” Kurdistan 24, 5/19/18

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