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IHEC concludes Iraq’s March 7 vote

17 May 2010 6:23

Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) announces the results of its recount of votes in Baghdad to conclude the March 7 parliamentary election.

“After repeated calculations for the ballot casts, the IHEC announces that the results are almost identical to the previous one,” the commission’s spokesman Qassim al-Boudi said in a Sunday news conference in Baghdad’s Green Zone.

“There were only very small differences in the vote that do not change the results,” he added.

International observers said the manual recount process — which dealt 11,298 ballot boxes in Baghdad province — was well-organized and based on highest international standards.

“The recounting process was held according to highest levels of accuracy and was based on highest international standards,” said Arab League Ambassador to Iraq Mohammed al-Khamlishi.

“The Arab league saw no sign of fraud,” Khamlishi stressed.

The recount came at a request by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law coalition, which ended up second in the March 7 parliamentary vote, on the heels of former premier Iyad Allawi’s Western-backed al-Iraqiya.

The Iraqi election commission earlier said another demand for a recount by the Kurdish Alliance had been withdrawn due to national interest considerations.

While both Maliki and Allawi fall short of an upright majority they need to form a government, President Jalal al-Talabani has joined the calls for the formation of a ruling coalition amid fears that the political gap could fuel violence across the nation.

This promoted Maliki to enter an agreement with the Iraqi National Alliance to create a new parliamentary bloc.

Meanwhile, the country’s popular cleric Moqtada al-Sadr also said his movement had no opposition against Maliki’s stay in power and a second term in office.

The influential leader, however, conditioned his support to a halt to the continuous arrests of Sadrists and his movement’s control over Iraq’s security forces.

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