KDP renews support for recount of Iraqi election, rejects vote cancellations

The KDP expressed readiness "for all kind of cooperation to dispel doubts and prevent further complications."

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) reiterated its support on Wednesday for a manual recount of votes cast in national elections, but decried a recent partial cancellation of votes called for by parliament.

KDP spokesperson Mahmood Mohammed said in a statement that his party is firmly against any decisions to cancel ballot counts for voters living abroad and those currently displaced within Iraq.

"The KDP rejects the Iraqi parliament’s decision because it is political as it only cancels elections results in the Kurdistan Region and Kirkuk," Mohammed said.

The statement came after a meeting by members of the Iraqi parliament passed a resolution, seemingly non-binding since there were not enough MPs present to achieve a quorum, to cancel portions of the contested recent national elections and demand a manual recount in others.

Although the votes of many displaced Iraqis from the provinces of Anbar, Salahadin, Nineveh, Kirkuk, and Diyala now living in camps within the Kurdistan Region would be affected by such a decision, it was not immediately clear what Mohammed meant by it canceling votes "only" in the Kurdistan Region and Kirkuk.

"In order to dispel doubts and concerns of the political parties [over the elections results], KDP favors any necessary measures taken by the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC)," Mohammed said.

The statement added that the KDP supports any decision that would be made within the legal framework for manual recounting of the votes "to regain the trust of voters" and it also expressed readiness "for all kind of cooperation to dispel doubts and prevent further complications."

The KDP previously called on IHEC to take all necessary measures, including a manual recount, because of concerns expressed by some Kurdish political parties over the preliminary elections results in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq.

Unlike previous elections, a digital biometric voting system was used for verifying voter cards, fingerprints, and counting ballots—a system meant to streamline the electoral process and prevent voter fraud.

However, as polling stations were closing on May 12, complaints began to surface. Several parties across Iraq have made claims of electoral violations during the process, calling on IHEC to investigate voter fraud and recount votes manually.

In a statement released on Wednesday, IHEC announced it had canceled votes from 1,021 polling stations from nine Iraqi provinces, Iraqis abroad, and early voting.

Editing by John J. Catherine