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Iraq Election Commission backtracks on results after threats

Iraqi Election Commission backtracks on results after pro-Iran militia threats
2 min read
13 October, 2021
Iraq’s High Election Commission has announced revised results following parliamentary polls, giving seats to pro-militia parties, following threats from Iran-linked armed groups.
Iraq's election commission has announced revisions to its initial results, which militias called "fabricated" [Getty]

Iraq’s High Election Commission has backtracked on results it published following parliamentary elections after militias linked to Iran said that they would reject them, casting severe doubt on the electoral process.

On Tuesday night, the election commission announced a series of results in which parties linked to pro-Iran militias performed poorly, winning only 14 seats in the 329-seat Iraqi parliament.

However, the pro-Iran militias, most of whom are part of the state-sanctioned Popular Mobilisation Forces coalition, issued threats and said that they would not accept the results.

Hadi Al Ameri, the secretary-general of the Badr Organisation, an Iran-linked militia which has been accused of committing atrocities before, said on Tuesday: “We will not accept these fabricated results, no matter what the cost… we will defend the votes of our candidates and voters with all strength.”

Al-Ameri is also the leader of the Fatah Alliance, a political group linked to the militias which is taking part in the elections.

Other Iran-linked groups issued threats.

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The “Iraqi Resistance Coordination” released a statement saying that it was “at the highest state of readiness to defend the state and the political process” while adding that events had “clearly shown the failure and incompetence of the work of the current electoral commission and the falsity of the results it has published.”

Iraq’s Sadrist movement, led by Shia cleric Muqtada Sadr, who has had an ambivalent relationship with Iran in the past has taken the lead in the parliamentary elections, winning 73 seats according to initial results.

Following the statements and threats from the Iran-linked militias, however, the Electoral Commission announced revised results in the early hours of Wednesday morning, awarding more seats to Iran-linked candidates at the expense of the Sadrists, independent candidates and the Taqadum Coalition, which is allied with the Sadrists.

Issam Hussein, a senior official from the Sadrist movement, said that seven independent candidates had lost their initial wins to candidates from the Fatah Alliance.

He called this a “massacre” and added that the Sadrists had also seen the number of seats they won reduced from 73 to 69.

The electoral commission justified its actions by saying that some ballots had not reached Baghdad for counting due to a technical fault, despite previously saying that all ballots had arrived in Baghdad via military helicopters.

Iraq’s parliamentary elections were due initially to take place in 2022 but were brought forward to this year in response to widespread protests against government corruption.

However they have been marred by a low turnout, with many anti-corruption activists boycotting the vote.