News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqIraqi election appeals rejected

Iraqi election appeals rejected

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Reuters: Election authorities in Iraq rejected final appeals on Tuesday against the results of a March parliamentary election, which will now move to the Supreme Court for certification.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Election authorities in Iraq rejected final appeals on Tuesday against the results of a March parliamentary election, which will now move to the Supreme Court for certification.

Iraq is still without a government more than 11 weeks after the inconclusive March 7 poll, narrowly won by the cross-sectarian Iraqiya alliance led by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

An appeals authority within Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) rejected final complaints submitted before Monday’s deadline.

“The ruling has been certified by the commission and will be sent tomorrow to the Supreme Court,” said IHEC spokesman Qassim al-Aboudi.

Election officials have said they expect the Supreme Court to move quickly, but a government could still be weeks or months away.

Iraqiya, led by secular Shi’ite Allawi and heavily backed by Sunni voters, won the election by a two-seat margin.

But the major Shi’ite groups — incumbent Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s State of Law and the Iraqi National Alliance, which has close ties to Shi’ite neighbor Iran — have announced plans to unite to form the largest bloc in parliament.

They would still be four seats short of a majority.

Allawi has warned that any attempt to marginalize his bloc — and therefore the Sunni minority — could see Iraq slide back into the kind of broader sectarian bloodshed seen in 2006-07.

President Jalal Talabani must call on the new parliament to convene within 15 days of the Supreme Court certifying the results. Members then have 15 days to elect a speaker and 30 days to elect a new president.

The new president then has 15 days to ask the largest bloc in parliament to form a government and choose a prime minister.

The last complaints were filed on Sunday by four candidates who had lost their seats in the 325-seat parliament after a recount of votes cast in Baghdad.

(Writing by Matt Robinson; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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