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.


UN calls on Libya to crack down on violent militias

Khalifa Haftar. (Supplied)
Updated 21 August 2018
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UN calls on Libya to crack down on violent militias

  • Libya remains divided between the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east supported by military strongman Khalifa Haftar
  • Tripoli office to a more “secure” location after threats from militiamen against its employees

TRIPOLI: The UN has called on Libya’s internationally recognized government to crack down on armed groups obstructing the work of state institutions in the chaos-wracked country.
The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) late on Sunday night expressed its “strong condemnation of the violence, intimidation and obstruction to the work of Libya’s sovereign institutions by militiamen.”
It called on the UN-backed Government of National Accord to “prosecute those responsible for these criminal actions.”
The GNA’s military and security institutions have failed to place limits on the powerful militias that sprung up in the turmoil that followed the 2011 ouster of dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
Several state institutions, including those in Tripoli, have been regular targets of harassment and intimidation by armed groups technically operating under the GNA’s Interior Ministry.
Members of militias “nominally acting under the Ministry of Interior of the Government of National Accord are attacking sovereign institutions and preventing them from being able to operate effectively,” UNSMIL said.
Last week, the GNA’s National Oil Corp. said men from the Interior Ministry had forced their way into the headquarters of Brega Petroleum Marketing Company — a distribution outfit — to “arrest” its chief.
The Libyan Investment Authority, the GNA-managed sovereign wealth fund, recently moved from its downtown Tripoli office to a more “secure” location after threats from militiamen against its employees.
UNSMIL said it would work with the international community and the GNA to “investigate the possibility of bringing sanctions against those interfering with or threatening the operations of any sovereign institution.”
Libya remains divided between the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east supported by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.
A myriad of militias,terrorist groups and people traffickers have taken advantage of the chaos to gain a foothold in the North African country.