Iraq’s Supreme Court on Thursday endorsed a manual recount of all ballots from last month’s national elections, but rejected the invalidation of ballots from abroad and from voters displaced by recent conflict. Authorities have been struggling to address allegations raised by underperforming parties that the May vote was marred by fraud. The court ruling concerned a law passed by parliament that mandated a full, manual recount of the vote, and ordered other measures that President Fuad Masum and the national elections commission described as political interference. Two-thirds of parliament’s current members lost their seats in the May polls, or did not stand for re-election. A warehouse storing ballots from eastern Baghdad was burned down days after the parliament filed the legislation. Outgoing parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri called it arson and said the fire was set to cover up fraud.
The Supreme Court said the legislation was broadly constitutional and endorsed the order to replace the Independent Elections Commission with a panel of nine judges to supervise the recount. The commission, deflecting allegations of fraud, refused to conduct one of its own.