A panel of judges that were appointed by Iraq’s Supreme Court have ruled that the votes from the May parliamentary election will be recounted manually by appointees. However, the votes will only be recounted at locations where political parties filed formal complaints. The recount will start in Kirkuk this week. A statement released by the panel said that, “The committee is in agreement with Iraq’s High Election Commission that the manual recount will be only for those ballot stations that political parties filed complaints on them.”

Iraq’s Supreme Court ruled on June 21st that the required manual recount by parliament was entirely constitutional. However, the annulment of votes by Internally Displaced People (IDPs) or advanced votes were not approved. The attempt by parliament to mandate a manual recount of all votes was made on June 6th. Also, nine judges were chosen to replace the entire Iraqi High Independent Electoral Commission (IHEC).

Iraqi president Fuad Masum has urged all political parties and groups involved to let the final election recount be set in stone this time. President Masum stated during a press conference that,

In order to avoid instability and violence, I ask all groups and citizens to act responsibly until the final election results will be announced and approved by Iraq’s Supreme Court. After the approval of the election results by the court, during the legal period all political groups have to do their responsibility for choosing the head of parliament and Iraq’s president, and asking the biggest bloc for forming government.”

Claims of voter fraud were particular high in Kurdistan with six of the small political parties crying foul of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). The manual recount was advocated by the Coalition for Democracy and Justice (CDJ), the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU), the Kurdistan Islamic Movement, Komal, the Change Movement (Gorran), and the Kurdistan Communist Party.

Over the weekend a car bomb exploded in Kirkuk at a storage facility that held election ballots. Local police say that 21 people were injured and one person was killed in the blast, 15 of the victims were members of the Iraqi Security Forces. No organization or individuals have claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

Featured image: Iraqi voters wait in line to cast their vote at one of the polling sites in Baghdad, Iraq, Jan. 30, 2005. | U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dave Ahlschwede

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