Iraqi Election Commission predicts ‘strong’ changes to results after challenges from pro-militia parties

Iraqi Election Commission predicts ‘strong’ changes to results after challenges from pro-militia parties
Iraq’s High Election Commission has announced that it believes results from October’s parliamentary elections will be “strongly affected” following legal challenges from parties allied with pro-Iran militias.
3 min read
21 November, 2021
Results from many polling stations have been changed as a result of legal challenges to the results [Getty]

Iraq’s High Election Commission on Sunday said that the results of October's parliamentary elections had been "strongly affected" by legal challenges brought forward by political parties which initially seemed to have won a low number of seats and rejected the election results.

The Iraqi News Agency (INA) quoted Imad Mohsen, a member of the commission as saying that "the commission is ready to announce the results after the judicial authority looks into all the challenges".

Mohsen said he hoped that final results of the elections would be announced in two days time. A judicial authority formed to review the election results has cancelled results from some polling stations.

Initial results announced by the Election Commission in October gave the Sairoon bloc, led by Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, over 70 of 329 seats in the new Iraqi parliament, making it the largest bloc.

Sadr, who has previously had an ambivalent relationship with Iran, took an Iraqi nationalist line in the run-up to the elections.

By contrast, the Fatah Alliance, which is linked to pro-Iran militias which make up the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), only won 14 seats according to the initial results.

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The militias refused to accept the election results, holding protests and threatening members of the election commission while parties allied with them launched legal challenges.

On Friday, a group coordinating protests against the results announced that eight candidates from pro-Iran parties had won seats after the judicial authority found in favour of their legal challenges, according to a report in Shafaq News.

"The challenges had a strong effect on the results. Results from [polling] stations which were cancelled by the judicial authority have changed the number of seats [won by respective parties]," Mohsen told INA.

He added that Iraq’s Federal Court would approve the final election results when they were announced.

The Fatah Alliance said that the fact that some results were being changed showed that initial results were rigged and tampered with.

On the other hand, demonstrations took place on Sunday in Hillah south of Baghdad after the Election Commission announced that a pro-militia candidate had won instead of Amir al-Maamouri an independent candidate who was initially proclaimed the winner for the area in October.

Iraqi security forces have been on high alert for several weeks due to the stand-off over the election results.

Earlier this month, at least one person was killed and dozens of others injured when pro-militia protesters tried to storm Baghdad’s Green Zone, where the Iraqi government is based.

The protests were followed by an assassination attempt against Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, which was carried out with a drone.