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Iraq election commission turns down recount demand

Iraqi electoral commission on Sunday rejected the wholesale recount of the ballots cast in the recent general election amid calls for the measure by the Iraqi president and prime minister.

“We have provided all political entities with CDs with the results of counting at the political centers, after thorough checks on our part,” the head of Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission Faraj al-Haidari was quoted as saying by AFP.

“If they have doubts and think that there are errors, they can ask us to hold recounts at particular centers, but not across all of Iraq,” he added.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President Jalal al-Talabani have urged a manual recount of the vote, with the premier saying the measure would “protect political stability … and prevent a return to violence.”

Election tally, obtained by counting 92 percent of the ballots from the March 7 elections, on Saturday turned unexpectedly in favor of Maliki’s rival camp, the al-Iraqiya Alliance. The updated results gave, al-Iraqiya, which is headed by former premier Iyad Allawi, a slim lead of 8,000 votes.

Al-Iraqiya lawmaker Intisar Allawi, meanwhile, called Maliki’s call for a recount a “clear threat against the commission.”

With the 325 parliamentary seats being allotted by province, the turn of events, however, has not disheartened Maliki’s supporters as his Rule of Law party retains its lead in seven of Iraq’s 18 provinces — two more than the ones conquered by al-Iraqiya.

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