ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Kurdish party has expressed its opposition to other parties’ calls for a total manual recount of votes from the contested May 12 Iraqi national election in the Kirkuk Province.
“The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) does not accept a complete recount of the votes in Kirkuk,” Qadir Hama-Jan, a member of the PUK’s politburo, said during a press conference on Tuesday.
If the other parties want all ballots to be sorted manually they “have to implement it in every province,” he added.
Major parties had made 350 appeals at 2,000 ballot boxes in the province’s election.
The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), the overseer of the election, started conducting the manual recount on Tuesday in Kirkuk’s “polling stations that received complaints and appeals by the legal contexts prescribed by the laws and regulations,” the commission’s spokesperson, Laiyth Jabir Hamza, stated on Tuesday.
The Commission “allowed the representatives of various political entities to enter the manual recount halls,” Mohammed Jalil, Election Manager for the Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG), told Kurdistan 24.
The KIG is one of three Islamic parties in the Kurdistan Region, with the others allied in a coalition called Toward Reform for the upcoming regional parliamentary election on Sep. 30.
On June 6, the Iraqi Parliament decided to freeze the work of the IHEC, assigning nine judges to run the commission to facilitate a manual recount of ballots for the entire elections process, a decision which the Iraqi Higher Judicial Council and the Federal Supreme Court (FSC) ratified.
The IHEC, however, said they interpreted the FSC decision as a manual recount of ballots only from the stations that claims of fraud had been submitted against.
Iraqi law expert Halmat Gharib told Kurdistan 24 that he saw such calls for an extensive recount process as “illogical,” expressing his disagreement with the possibility.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany