Iraqi politicians backed by anti-US cleric Moqtada al-Sadr (pictured) say they will lodge an official complaint about votes being excluded in last weekend's provincial elections, claiming that election results differ greatly from their estimates.
AFP - Iraqi politicians backed by the radical anti-US cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Saturday said they would lodge an official complaint about votes being excluded during last weekend's provincial elections.
Allies of Sadr said that preliminary results declared by election authorities were markedly different from estimates compiled by the party's observers during the hotly-contested vote.
"There is a big difference in some provinces between the figures we have, through our agents and observers, and those that were declared," said Amir al-Kinani, secretary general of the Free Independent Movement, backed by Sadr.
"We will submit the appeal in the results of a number of Baghdad areas and other provinces, including Najaf, Maysan, and Diwaniyah," he said.
The Free Independent Movement finished second in the capital Baghdad with nine percent of the vote, which left them 29 percent behind candidates backed by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
The Sadrist movement also finished second in the Shiite-dominated provinces of Maysan, Najaf and Dhi Qar, south of Baghdad.
Kinani, however, alleged that many ballot boxes had been excluded from the official vote count.
"I do not think the heads of entities or political blocs, especially the large one (Maliki's), sent people to do the fraud... this is impossible," he said.
"But some people's behaviour in specific centres led the electoral commission to exclude these centres, therefore leading to the loss of many votes," he added.
Separately, another political party alleged late Friday that there had been fraud in southern provinces during special voting -- for police officers, soldiers, hospital patients and convicts -- ahead of the main poll.
"There are important violations in Maysan," Ibrahim al-Sumaidaie, secretary general of the recently established Constitutional Party told AFP.
"Eighteen thousand voters cast their ballots in the special vote, but the commission destroyed six thousand ballots, half of them for the Constitutional Party," he said.
The Constitutional Party finished in seventh place in Maysan, with 2.5 percent of the vote, but Sumaidaie blamed a decision by United Nations and international observers to leave the area as a factor in the fraud.
"The (Electoral) Commission cancelled, in Diyala province, more than 5,000 ballots cast, including 2,000 of the Constitutional Party," he said.
"International observers and the United Nations pulled out of the polling stations after the announcement of preliminary results of the election on Thursday, which resulted in this manipulation."
Sumaidaie, however, did not say that the party would make a complaint to the Independent High Electoral Commission which was responsible for conducting the elections.
The State of Law Coalition backed by Maliki swept last weekend's polls, according to official preliminary results, covering 90 percent of ballots cast.
Final results, including the votes cast in the special ballot, are not due for several weeks.
Date created : 2009-02-08