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Iraq parliament votes for manual ballot recount

Baghdad: Iraq’s parliament voted on Wednesday to hold a manual recount of votes in the country’s May 12 parliamentary election, two lawmakers said, a day after the prime minister said there had been serious violations.

The move could hinder the delicate process of forming a new government, raising the prospect of further uncertainty in Iraq, and pits the government and parliament against the election commission, which is meant to be independent.

Parliament voted for amendments to the election law which force the Independent High Elections Commission (IHEC) to conduct a manual recount, after it had initially declined to do so. It also suspended the commission’s leadership, which is to be replaced by nine judges.

It cancelled the results from overseas voting and those from displaced voters in some provinces, lawmakers Ali Allaq and Khaled Al Asadi told Reuters. It also ruled out the use in future elections of electronic vote counting devices, blamed for many of the violations.

An IHEC spokesman declined to comment and said he was unauthorised to speak on this matter to the media.

Iraq’s highest judicial authority, the Supreme Judicial council, had said this week that the courts could not force the IHEC to conduct a manual recount because the law stipulated the use of electronic vote counting devices. A spokesman for the council told Reuters on Wednesday that was no longer an issue now that parliament had amended the law.

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