Iraqi lawmakers approve manual ballot recount in May 12 vote

Iraqi lawmakers approve manual ballot recount in May 12 vote

Iraq's Parliament passed a law on Wednesday ordering a nationwide manual recount of votes in the parliamentary election, politicians said, a day after the Prime Minister said there had been serious violations.

Sadr City is a stronghold of the nationalist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose political bloc won a 12 May parliamentary election.

The resolution, as ratified by the IHJC, will designate nine judges to take over the operation of the electoral commission, and oversee the recount.

It is unclear whether Wednesday's vote will affect the outcome of the election.

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On Tuesday, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi warned that security agencies had evidence of "unprecedented" violations.

MPs also replaced the leadership of the election commission and annulled the votes of overseas and displaced Iraqis. The four Sunni-dominated provinces where vote results from balloting in camps for people displaced during the recent war against the Islamic State group would be cancelled are Anbar, Diyala, Salahuddin and Ninevah. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The results, however, have not been formally ratified, as the country has waited for the electoral commission to investigate allegations of isolated cases of fraud and reports of multiple technical malfunctions in new electronic ballot machines. Criminal charges might be brought against some people although he did not name them or say if they belonged to the commission.

Several political groups had voiced opposition to the use of the devices before the election, but not Abadi, who approved their introduction and supported their use.

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