AFP: A recount of votes in Baghdad yielded no evidence of fraud, Iraq’s election commission said on Friday, more than two months after March elections from which no new government has yet emerged.
by Salam Faraj
BAGHDAD, May 14, 2010 (AFP) – A recount of votes in Baghdad yielded no evidence of fraud, Iraq’s election commission said on Friday, more than two months after March elections from which no new government has yet emerged.
Results from the 12-day process were still to be entered into the commission’s computer system, with results expected on Monday, spokesman Qassim al-Abboudi told reporters.
“We finished the recount of 11,298 ballot boxes and no violations or fraud have been found,” Abboudi said at a news conference in the capital’s heavily-fortified Green Zone.
He added that political parties could still contest the results from the recount, but offered no timetable for the complaints procedure.
Electoral authorities began a manual recount of votes in Baghdad, which accounts for 68 seats in Iraq’s 325-member Council of Representatives, on May 3, nearly two months after the March 7 general election.
The recount followed 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 ballot.
On May 9, the commission submitted results from 17 of Iraq’s 18 provinces to the supreme court for ratification, with Baghdad the lone exception.
Preliminary nationwide results have shown that the Iraqiya bloc of secular ex-premier Iyad Allawi came first with 91 seats, followed closely by Maliki’s State of Law Alliance’s 89 seats.
The Iraqi National Alliance (INA), a coalition led by Shiite religious groups, finished third with 70 seats.
Maliki won 26 seats in the capital to Allawi’s 24, while the INA won 17.
Earlier this month, State of Law and the INA announced they had struck a deal to form a coalition, but with their alliance still falling four seats short of a parliamentary majority.
US Ambassador to Baghdad Christopher Hill has voiced confidence that Iraq is headed towards a new government, but said on Sunday that no front-runner had yet emerged to lead the country.
Hill said the merger of State of Law and INA had created a “Shiite mega party,” but noted that the choice of a new premier was unclear.
“The issue of who will be the prime minister is yet to be determined and obviously it will be a subject of great competition in the weeks ahead,” he added.
Full results from the parliamentary election were initially expected to be ratified in early April but have been postponed due to counting delays, multiple complaints and appeals from political groups.