Skip to main content

Iraqi election recount results ratified, paving way for government formation

Muqtada al-Sadr's alliance remains top in newly confirmed results after allegations of fraud prompted a manual recount
A recount supported initial outcome of May election despite vote fraud claims (Reuters)

A recount of votes cast in Iraq's disputed parliamentary elections were backed by the country's supreme court on Sunday, making the results official and finally paving the way for the formation of a government after months of delay. 

Supreme court spokesman Iyad al-Samouk announced it had ratified the results of a manual recount announced last week, which supported the initial results that placed Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in the lead, despite widespread claims of voter fraud after the May election. 

The ratification makes the results formal and lawmakers now have to gather and elect a speaker, then president and finally a prime minister and cabinet within 90 days.

Allegations of fraud prompted the recount, but the only change that came from it was an extra seat for the Fatah Alliance of pro-Iranian former paramilitary fighters, which remains in second place. There are 329 seats in the Iraqi parliament. 

Like it or not, Iran will continue to be the most powerful player in Iraq
Marco Carnelos
Read More »

The original 12 May poll involved a new electronic system for tallying votes cast, rather than counting voting slips manually - a process that has been criticised as being ripe for abuse.

A panel of judges overseeing the recount later limited its scope, ruling that it would only cover suspect ballots flagged in formal complaints or official reports on fraud.

Overseas votes cast in Iran, Turkey, Britain, Lebanon, Jordan, the United States and Germany were recounted.

Sadr presents himself as a non-sectarian nationalist opposed to both the United States and Iran's influence over his country. The Iraqi Communist Party forms part of Sadr's Sairoon Alliance.

The top three winning blocs, all Shia-led, have upwards of 140 seats between them. At least 165 seats are needed to form a government, although traditionally the ruling bloc in parliament tends to be larger so as to include Sunni Arab and Kurdish lawmakers.

The political uncertainty over the make-up of the new government has raised tensions at a time when public impatience is growing over poor basic services, unemployment and the slow pace of rebuilding after a three-year war with the Islamic State militant group.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.