The cross-sectarian coalition that took a narrow lead in Iraq's inconclusive March 7 election said on Tuesday it supported a recount of votes cast in Baghdad, but expressed concern over how it would be conducted.
"We ... are committed to the manual recount but we are afraid over the practices that may occur ... that could lead to a change in the results for the benefit of a certain party," the coalition said in a statement.
The Iraqiya bloc of former prime minister Iyad Allawi won 91 seats in the election, just two ahead of the 89 gained by the State of Law alliance led by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Both coalitions fell well short of a parliamentary majority.
State of Law sought a recount, claiming that up to 750,000 votes had been affected by fraud. A review panel on Monday ordered a manual recount of the 2.5 million ballots cast in the Iraqi capital after reviewing State of Law's case.
Iraqiya was backed by the Sunni minority, which dominated Iraq under Saddam Hussein and whose frustration at the rise of Shi'ite political dominance since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion caused a fierce insurgency and a bloody sectarian war.
Baghdad is a major prize, as it accounts for more than a fifth of the 325 seats in the next parliament.
"What worries us now, although we are committed to a manual recount and we believe in it very strongly ... is why other areas have not been included in the recount?" Allawi said.
Allawi said the decision to order a recount came as a surprise six weeks after the election. "We are worried about where the ballot boxes have been kept since the election until today," he said.
ReutersLast Mod: 21 Nisan 2010, 09:05