ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri released a letter on Thursday, signed by 81 members of Parliament, in which they request holding an emergency hearing on May 19 regarding the Iraqi parliamentary elections.
“We kindly ask that you approve an emergency meeting to discuss the goings on [of the election],” the letter read.
The letter described the results of the election as “catastrophic,” echoing the National Coalition’s, led by Iraqi Vice-President Ayad Allawi, points about low voter participation as one of the signatories’ concerns regarding the election process.
Turnout stood at 44.5 percent, according to Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC). It is the lowest voter turnout rate in Iraq in the past 13 years. In the 2014 elections, roughly 60 percent headed to the polls.
The MPs agree on the “catastrophic results that the 2018 election has produced: fraud, distortion of facts, negligence, and lack of participation.”
Following the election, various Kurdish parties alleged mass fraud was committed by specific parties, claiming the votes they received were lower than expected. They also claimed the newly used electronic voting system was easy to be tampered with.
The names of parliament members, who signed the letter, belong to individuals from the parties and coalitions who were trailing behind the major forces in the election.
The signed letter also mentions that IHEC staff will be present in the session on Saturday.
The preliminary results of the election surprised spectators everywhere. However, they are unofficial and subject to change as official results will be announced in the coming days.
Muqtada al-Sadr, an outspoken antagonist to the US, and interventionism in the Iraqi political process, is the leader of the Alliance of Revolutionaries for Reform which took first place from both the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces’ (PMF) list called the Fatih Alliance and the US’ favored candidate Haider al-Abadi’s Victory (Nasr) Alliance.
Ján Kubiš, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq, on Thursday called on the IHEC to conduct an immediate and thorough investigation into the election and attend to all complaints regarding the electoral process.
“It is important that these [measures] are undertaken in full transparency, witnessed by stakeholders,” Kubiš said, “to strengthen the confidence in the [electoral] process.” He added the UN was ready to assist if requested.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany