Close to three weeks after parliamentary polls, confusion reigns in Iraq as allegations mount of election fraud even with negotiations to form a government well underway. Since the May 12 victory of anti-establishment electoral lists, long-time political figures pushed out by Iraqi voters hoping for change have called for a recount — with some even calling for the poll results to be cancelled. Iraqi authorities have agreed to review the results, but have yet to take any concrete measures. Experts say claims of fraud are more likely to stem from frustrated outgoing politicians, rather than any major electoral manipulations in a country determined to turn the page after a brutal three-year fight against the Islamic State group. In a surprise to many, the parliamentary poll saw populist Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr’s electoral alliance with Iraq’s communists beat a list of former anti-IS fighters close to Shiite Iran. “To cancel these results is not possible, it would lead to a crisis and perhaps armed clashes,” political analyst Essam al-Fili told AFP.
Fili said Shiite forces, now in a strong position amid negotiations to form a government, “aren’t ready to give up what they’ve won”.
Many of Iraq’s longtime political figures — seemingly irremovable since the fall 15 years ago of dictator Saddam Hussein — were pushed out of their seats by new faces.
It is their voices — with parliament speaker Salim al-Juburi leading the charge — that have been the loudest in challenging the poll results.