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Iraqi high court backs manual recount of election votes

By
Sara Shayanian
Iraq's Supreme Court ruled Thursday in favor of a manual recount ordered for the May 12 elections. File photo by Ali Abbas/EPA-EFE
Iraq's Supreme Court ruled Thursday in favor of a manual recount ordered for the May 12 elections. File photo by Ali Abbas/EPA-EFE

June 21 (UPI) -- The Iraqi Supreme Court ruled Thursday for a manual recount of ballots from the parliamentary elections last month.

The top court found a decision by lawmakers to order the recount was constitutional, but turned down a request by lawmakers to cancel the votes cast by Iraqi expatriates.

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After the May 12 vote, several political parties criticized the electric voting system and pushed for the recount.

On June 6, the country's outgoing parliament voted in favor recounting all 11 million ballots. Lawmakers went on to oust Iraq's nine-member independent high elections commission that oversaw the process and replaced the body with judges.

The elections resulted in a shock victory for Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr's Sairoon Alliance -- which claimed the largest number of seats. Sadr, an adversary of the United States, opposes Iranian influence in Iraq. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's alliance came in third place.

Earlier this month, four people were arrested over a blaze that broke out at a Baghdad storage facility that stored election ballots.

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Abadi said the fire was part of a plot to sabotage the vote and hurt Iraq's democracy.

The elections were the first time Iraq's ballots were counted electronically.

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