Iraq to begin manual recount of May election votes on Tuesday

Iraq’s supreme court ordered a manual recount of May 12 legislative elections, a process expected to take weeks. (AFP)
Updated 30 June 2018
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Iraq to begin manual recount of May election votes on Tuesday

  • Only those problematic ballots flagged in formal complaints or official reports on fraud allegations will be recounted
  • The recount will start in Kirkuk province and will extend to six further provinces: Sulaimaniya, Irbil, Dohuk, Nineveh, Salaheddin and Anbar

BAGHDAD: Iraq will begin a manual recount of votes on Tuesday from a May parliamentary election clouded by allegations of fraud, a step toward the formation of a new parliament and government.
Only suspect ballots flagged in formal complaints or official reports on fraud will be recounted, a spokesman for the panel of judges conducting the recount said on Saturday.
“The manual recount will be conducted in the presence of representatives from the United Nations, foreign embassies and political parties; as well as local and international observers, members of the media, and the Ministries of Defense and the Interior,” Judge Laith Jabr Hamza said in a statement.
In seven provinces where many complaints of fraud were made — Kirkuk, Sulaimaniya, Irbil, Dohuk, Nineveh, Salahuddin and Anbar — the recount will be conducted by the local electoral offices, Hamza said.
Those ballot boxes which had already been transferred to Baghdad will be recounted in the capital.
The recount has been a politically fraught issue with the leaders of winning blocs embroiled in negotiations for weeks over the formation of the next government.
Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, whose electoral list came third in the poll marred by a historically low turnout, and the winner, cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr, entered into an alliance last week, less than two weeks after Sadr announced a similar alliance with second-placed Iran ally Hadi Al-Amiri’s bloc, thus bringing the top three blocs together.
The recount will exclude Baghdad where a storage site holding half of Baghdad’s ballot boxes went up in flames earlier this month in an incident Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi described as a “plot to harm the nation and its democracy.”
Overseas votes in Iran, Turkey, Britain, Lebanon, Jordan, the United States and Germany will also be recounted, Hamza said.
Earlier in June, the outgoing parliament passed a law mandating a nationwide manual recount of all votes, but the panel of judges now in charge of the process said it would only be conducted for those problematic ballots.


US deploys 1,500 more troops to Middle East as Pentagon blames Iran's guards for tanker attacks

Updated 15 sec ago
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US deploys 1,500 more troops to Middle East as Pentagon blames Iran's guards for tanker attacks

  • Donald Trump says the additional troops would serve a 'mostly protective' role
  • The US began reinforcing its presence in the Arabian Gulf region earlier this month

WASHINGTON:  Donald Trump said Friday the US will send 1,500 extra troops to the Middle East in a "mostly protective role" amid heightened tensions with Iran.

"We want to have protection in the Middle East. We're going to be sending a relatively small number of troops, mostly protective," Trump said as he left the White House for a trip to Japan.
"Some very talented people are going to the Middle East right now. And we'll see what happens."

Officials said earlier that members of Congress were notified following a White House meeting Thursday to discuss Pentagon proposals to bolster the US force presence in the Middle East.
Earlier this week, officials had said that Pentagon planners had outlined plans that could have sent up to 10,000 military reinforcements to the region. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan later said planners had not settled on a figure.
The US began reinforcing its presence in the Arabian Gulf region this month in response to what it said was a threat from Iran.

More to follow...