ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that a manual recount of Saturday's national election results should be held if there is evidence that the new electronic voting system has proven unreliable.
He announced Tuesday on state television that it was the responsibility of Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) to conduct the recount to determine accurate results, citing high-profile charges of vote tampering in the disputed province of Kirkuk.
According to preliminary figures released by IHEC, the prime minister did poorly in the election, with his Al-Nasr Alliance trailing behind the party of surprise victor cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and that of militia leader Hadi al-Amiri, which came in second.
Disparagement of electronic voting devices, used at Iraqi polling stations for the first time on Saturday, has become a common rallying cry to candidates and members of parties that got few votes in a country where there was already little faith in the national electoral system.
Also on Tuesday, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) called on IHEC to recount votes manually due to concerns from some Kurdish political parties over the preliminary elections results in the Kurdistan Region.
“Some political parties are suspicious of the elections results [in the Kurdistan Region], and the KDP is suspicious of the results in Sulaimani Province,” read a statement, released to the press.
The KDP reiterated its support for the manual recounting of votes across the Kurdistan Region “to remove suspicions and protect the security of Kurdistan.”
Amid post-election protests in Kirkuk, an official from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) called on Abadi to send troops to the city to protect the lives of IHEC staff "who are currently surrounded by protesters."
Protests in Kirkuk were sparked by Turkmen after the end of the Iraqi parliamentary elections on May 12 and have been ongoing since. Kirkuk’s governor Rakan al-Jubouri has also called for a manual recount of votes, a call supported by Turkmen in the province as well.
The unofficial results of the polls in Kirkuk Province showed the PUK leading with a significant gap over rivals from the Arab and Turkmen lists, who came in second and third, respectively.