Iraq manual vote recount starts, may take 'weeks'

The partial recount, which includes only the 2.5 million votes cast in Baghdad, could take 11 or 12 days, an electoral commission official said.

Iraq manual vote recount starts, may take 'weeks'

Iraq began a manual recount on Monday of 2.5 million votes cast in a parliamentary election held nearly two months ago, a tally that stalled talks to form a new government.

The partial recount, which includes only the 2.5 million votes cast in Baghdad, could take 11 or 12 days, an electoral commission official said. Nearly 12 million Iraqis voted.

Incumbent Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's State of Law bloc had 89, according to preliminary results released weeks ago.

A review panel ordered the manual recount after a complaint from Maliki's bloc alleging fraud in the initial tally of ballots in Baghdad, which holds more than a fifth of the seats in parliament.

The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) would recount ballots cast at 11,000 polling stations in the capital at a rate of 800 to 1,000 stations a day, election commissioner Qasim al-Aboudi said.

Elections officials said the recount would continue until the review panel made a decision on the appeal.

"The process will take a long time and we usually don't go back to the voters list unless there was no match between the ballot papers in the box and the number of voters registered in the sheet," IHEC chief Faraj al-Haidari.

"Maliki's complaint"

But Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's election coalition, which had demanded the recount, said it should be halted because the elections commission was using "improper procedures" that would produce an inaccurate result.

Shortly after the recount started, Maliki's bloc filed a formal complaint to the review panel. It asked for a halt to the counting because. it said, the elections commission was not properly comparing ballots with electoral registers.

"We do not believe what is going on today is accurate work," said Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani, a member of Maliki's coalition who was appointed by the prime minister to oversee the recount for his bloc.

"IHEC is insisting on not letting the results reflect the Iraqi voters' will," he told a news conference.

Iraq's March 7 parliamentary poll produced no clear winner, with Allawi's Iraqiya coalition winning the highest number of seats, 91, and al-Maliki's State of Law bloc coming a close second, with 89 seats.

A political bloc needs 163 seats in parliament in order to form a government.

However, coalition-building talks between the major blocs and smaller parties in order to achieve that number appear to have stalled.


Agencies

Last Mod: 03 Mayıs 2010, 15:34
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