Iraqi PM Abadi says election fraud allegations to be investigated

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said a committee will investigate allegations of fraud in the May 12 national elections. (Reuters)
Updated 24 May 2018
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Iraqi PM Abadi says election fraud allegations to be investigated

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said on Thursday that allegations of fraud in national elections held last week will be investigated, according to a statement from his office.
The electoral list of Moqtada Al-Sadr, a populist Shiite cleric, unexpectedly won the biggest number of seats in the May 12 ballot.
The fraud claims have centered on the city of Kirkuk — although there have been reports of irregularities in multiple provinces — and focused on the tabulation system in electronic voting machines that were used for the first time during the election.
A special committee appointed by the cabinet will investigate the allegations, Abadi’s office said.
Some candidates have also expressed concerns about voter intimidation and reports of chaotic distribution of ID cards, which they claim disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of people.
Following several days of complaints — including a call for an investigation by the UN’s senior envoy to Iraq, Jan Kubis — the country’s electoral commission said on Monday it had invalidated ballots from 103 polling stations in five provinces.
The investigatory committee, which will include advisers from the security and intelligence sectors, will have access to all documents pertaining to the electoral process, including from the electoral commission.
The commission could not immediately be reached for comment.


With Hodeidah airport liberated, Saudi Arabia-led coalition accuses Houthis of targeting civilians

Updated 20 June 2018
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With Hodeidah airport liberated, Saudi Arabia-led coalition accuses Houthis of targeting civilians

  • UAE commander confirms Hodeidah airport in Yemen is liberated
  • Houthis have been accused of breaking international law by targeting civilians

DUBAI: A Saudi-led Arab Coalition commander has confirmed the liberation of Yemen’s Hodeida airport in a video posted by UAE state news agency WAM.

“The airport was completely cleared, Thank God, and is under control,” the coalition commander for the Red Sea coast, Abdul Salaam Al-Shehi said speaking in Arabic in the video posted on Twitter.

 

 

Government forces broke through the airport perimeter fence on Tuesday sparking heavy fighting in which at least 33 militia and 19 soldiers were killed – according to AFP.

The offensive was launched last Wednesday to clear Hodeida of Houthi fighters who have held it since 2014, raising UN concerns for vital aid shipments and food imports through the city’s docks.

The airport is disused but housed a major militia base just inland from the coast road into the city from the south.

It lies eight kilometers from the city’s port, through which three-quarters of Yemen’s imports pass, providing a lifeline for some 22 million people dependent on aid.

UN envoy Martin Griffiths held four days of talks in the rebel-held capital Sanaa in a bid to avert an all-out battle for the city but flew out on Tuesday without announcing any breakthrough.

Meanwhile Coalition forces have accused the Iran-back Houthis of directly targeting civilians in the Tehama region, north-west of Hodeidah, in direct violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, WAM reported.

Now the Coalition has called on the international community to put pressure on the Houthis to stop their violent and illegal acts against the Yemeni people.

These latest reports came as further evidence was presented by both the UAE and Saudi Arabia, that Iran is supplying the Houthi militia in Yemen with various forms of artillery, including drones, rockets, small arms and ammunition.

(With AFP)