World Bulletin / News Desk
Each day this week, Turkmen have gathered in downtown Kirkuk and chanted slogans denouncing the “fraud” and “vote-rigging” which they say marred the recent elections.
At a Thursday press conference held on the sidelines of the protest, Kasim Kazanci, Kirkuk resident and member of the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF), said: “The main demand of the Turkmen is for a manual vote recount.”
“[Iraq’s] Independent High Electoral Commission is the only thing standing in the way of a manual recount,” Kazanci said.
“The ITF intends to pursue its rights through the Iraqi judicial system,” he added.
Ali Mufto, a leader of Iraq’s Turkmeneli Party, for his part, warned that Iraq’s Turkmen must be given fair representation in Iraq’s government and parliament.
“Any new government in Baghdad will lose its legitimacy if it does not take the will of the Turkmen into account,” he said.
Many Turkmen and Arabs in oil-rich Kirkuk believe that results of the May 12 poll were manipulated and therefore demand a recount.
Iyad Allawi, former Iraqi vice-president and head of the Al-Wataniya coalition, has likewise criticized what he described as “dubious” actions by Iraq’s official electoral commission in regards to the May 12 poll.
On Monday, the electoral commission announced that it had annulled all ballots cast at 103 polling stations in the Baghdad, Anbar, Nineveh, Saladin and Erbil provinces.
To what extent the move affected final poll results, however, remains unclear.
According to those results, Muqtada al-Sadr's Sairoon coalition won 54 parliamentary seats, followed by a Hashd al-Shaabi-linked coalition (47 seats) and Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi's Victory bloc (42 seats).
The Erbil-based Kurdistan Democratic Party, meanwhile, picked up 25 seats in the assembly.
Final results were announced several days after Iraqis cast ballots in the country's first parliamentary election since 2014.
Preliminary results had been announced days earlier, but widespread fraud allegations had reportedly delayed a final vote count.