Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

NYPD's online campaign backfires

Read more

ENCORE!

Celebrating the Bard's birthday in Britain

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

José Bové, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, Group of the Greens

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yuki Tatsumi, Senior Associate of the East Asia Program, Stimson Center

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

USA: Executions halted over drugs secrecy

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

An overly optimistic plan?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

#NYPD Fail

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Soaring iPhone sales in China boost Apple earnings

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Tutu cautions ANC: South African peace laureate criticises ruling party

Read more

  • Ukraine troops launch assault on rebel stronghold, take checkpoint

    Read more

  • Afghan guard kills US doctors in Kabul hospital attack

    Read more

  • Ségolène Royal denies banning cleavage at French ministry

    Read more

  • Palestinian unity deal stirs anger in Israel

    Read more

  • Video: Mayor in east Ukraine ready ‘to turn Slaviansk into battlefield’

    Read more

  • US would defend Japan in islands dispute, Obama says

    Read more

  • New far-right mayor moves to quash Paris region mosque

    Read more

  • US soldiers arrive in Poland as Ukraine crisis continues

    Read more

  • Fatah, Hamas agree to form Palestinian unity government

    Read more

  • Millions of Syrians desperately need aid, says UN

    Read more

  • Muslims in CAR pray for an escape route

    Read more

  • Madrid beat Bayern 1-0 in first leg of Champions League semis

    Read more

  • Britain's ex-PM Blair warns against spread of radical Islam

    Read more

  • Turkish PM offers condolences to descendants of Armenians killed in 1915

    Read more

  • Gay marriage, one year on: ‘French civilisation did not crumble’

    Read more

  • Colombian president reinstates firebrand Bogota mayor

    Read more

  • NYPD public relations campaign on Twitter goes awry

    Read more

  • In pictures: Violent protests erupt in Rio

    Read more

middle east - do not use

Baghdad vote recount starts amid new ballot-stuffing allegations

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-05-03

A manual recount of some of the ballots cast in Baghdad in the March 7 parliamentary elections began Monday following an appeal by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who alleged that the electronic counting system was flawed.

AFP - An election recount that could alter who becomes Iraq's prime minister began in Baghdad on Monday amid allegations of ballot-stuffing, the latest in a series of threats to the vote's credibility.
   
The war-torn country's March 7 parliamentary poll has yet to produce a government and the outcome remains shrouded in doubt due to the recount and an imminent ruling on whether several winning candidates should be disqualified.
   
The United States is increasingly concerned that an initially credible election could unravel because of political stalemate, a lack of democratic transparency and the potential disenfranchisement of a large number of voters.
   
The recount, which is expected to take two weeks, follows a successful appeal by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who alleged that he had lost votes because of violations at polling centres in Baghdad during the March 7 ballot.
   
No sooner was it under way than new allegations of manipulation were raised by a leading member of Maliki's State of Law Alliance, who hit out at the conduct of the recount by the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) and lodged an appeal to have it halted.
   
Hussein al-Shahristani, Iraq's oil minister and a close Maliki ally, insisted that voter lists be reconciled with the number of ballot papers sitting in 11,000 boxes.
   
"We presented a new complaint to the judicial assembly," said Shahristani, a member of Maliki's alliance.
   
"We have information that there was manipulation in the desire of voters. Boxes were filled with forged papers. So we demand the process stops or changes are made so that it works correctly."
   
The UN's envoy to Iraq, Ad Melkert, defended the integrity of the recount.
   
"It has been set up in a very professional way," he said. "It is yet another reassurance to the Iraqi voters that their vote will be respected."
   
Baghdad was by far the biggest prize in the election almost two months ago, with 70 seats on offer in a new 325-seat parliament.
   
"We will count 600 boxes today," IHEC official Qassim al-Abbudi earlier told reporters at the Rasheed hotel in the Iraqi capital where the recount is taking place.
   
Officials from the United Nations, European Union, the Arab League, and the US embassy in Baghdad are monitoring the process.
   
Former premier Iyad Allawi's secular Iraqiya coalition won the election, defeating Maliki by 91 votes to 89, according to results still to be ratified by the Supreme Court.
   
Both need 163 seats to form a majority government but coalition talks with smaller parties appear to have stalled.
   
Maliki won the vote in Baghdad -- taking 26 seats compared to Allawi's 24 -- in what was the second national election in Iraq since the 2003 US-led ouster of dictator Saddam Hussein.
   
But the recount could lead to a wider winning margin for the premier in the capital, allowing him to eventually overturn his two-seat defeat nationally.
   
At a briefing on Sunday, Ambassador Gary Grappo, head of the political section at the US Embassy in Baghdad, said he did not expect significant changes to the election result.
   
The recount, however, coincides with a ruling expected this week on whether nine election-winning candidates will be disqualified.
   
The candidates are variously accused of links to Saddam's outlawed Baath party and military units during his reign.
   
Grappo said the role of the Justice and Accountability Committee (JAC) that compiled the list of candidates who could be stopped from taking up seats remained opaque.
   
"From our perspective we see the votes cast by individual citizens as sacrosanct, and now we see we have an organisation of questionable legitimacy trying to alter votes cast by citizens," he said.
   
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on April 27 urged Iraqi leaders to resolve their rows and form a new government quickly.

Date created : 2010-05-03

  • IRAQ

    Iraqi election panel invalidates 52 candidates

    Read more

  • IRAQ

    Election panel orders recount of Baghdad results

    Read more

  • IRAQ

    Maliki slams UN for inaction on vote fraud charge after election defeat

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)