UN envoy to Security Council: No evidence of fraud in Iraqi election

Top UN envoy to Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert. (Photo: UN)
Top UN envoy to Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert. (Photo: UN)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Special Representative for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said on Tuesday that there is no evidence of systematic fraud in last month's legislative elections, despite multiple claims to the contrary by losing candidates and parties.

In her briefing to the UN Security Council in New York on developments following the elections, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert explained that the voting process was "assessed as generally peaceful, well run, featuring significant technical and procedural improvements."

In the early days of November, violent clashes broke out as supporters of Iran-aligned militias of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) attempted to storm Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone as part of protests following the loss of parliament seats by political parties affiliated to the armed groups.

Read More: Iraqi leaders call for restraint as post-election violence escalates

Losing candidates from several parties also lodged formal claims of electoral fraud, but the head of Iraq's Supreme Judicial Council later said that no clear proof of such allegations had been provided.

Read More: Iraqi judiciary says no proof of fraud in national election

"So far, and as stated by the Iraqi judiciary, there is no evidence of systemic fraud," continued Plasschaert, adding that "any outstanding electoral concerns must only be dealt with through established legal channels, in accordance with the law."

"Let me be clear: under no circumstances must terrorism, violence and/or any other unlawful acts be allowed to derail Iraq’s democratic process," said the diplomat, urging "calm, restraint and dialogue" as "the only way forward," to ease tensions across Iraq.

She pointed out, "Results will only be final after ratification by the Federal Supreme Court, which takes place once the Electoral Judicial Panel has adjudicated on those appeals brought before it," and that, "Any unlawful attempts to prolong or discredit the electoral results process, or worse: to alter the electoral results through (for instance) intimidation and pressure, can only backfire."

The UN envoy stressed that, while "the risk of continued political deadlock is real, Iraq desperately needs a government that is able to - swiftly and effectively - tackle the long list of unfinished domestic business: this is the primary responsibility of all political stakeholders."

"The October elections were hard earned, and importantly: technically well-managed. A process for which IHEC and others deserve credit," Plasschaert concluded, saying she was hopeful that “the recent parliamentary elections can serve as an important steppingstone on a longer path towards regaining public trust."