Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Who’s playing with fire?

The election commission last night announced shocking preliminary results of the elections in 11 Iraqi provinces.
The results “after counting 89% of the votes in Baghdad showed that the UIA won 1,403,901 votes, the Accord Front won 451,782 while Allawi’s list won 327,174” said a spokesman of the election commission.

These results when final will grant the UIA many more seats that what was expected, the thing that obviously upset the Accord Front.
Four leaders from the Front are holding a press conference right now in Baghdad and they strongly rejected the announced results. Tariq al-Hashimi and Adnan al-Dulaimi, the two leaders of the Front are asking the election commission to “reconsider these results or redo the election in Baghdad…we ask our supporters to remain calm now but if our demands are not met we will have to make different decision” said al-Hashimi who also accused the UIA of putting pressure on the commission to “manipulate the results for the benefit of UIA…the UIA are playing with fire!”.

Al-Hashimi and al-Dulaimi who looked really angry spoke of many violations and incidents of fraud including the report we heard of some time ago about forged ballot papers coming from Iran and the cases in which boxes didn’t reach some Sunni regions.

The Front has also said that they will not approve the outcome of the results and will not recognize the parliament or the government if their objections are not considered or if the elections are not redone in Baghdad under international observation.

Statements that convey frank threats that can possibly lead serious consequence.

No comments till now from the commission, UIA or Allawi but I’ll try to keep you updated…

Update: (1:30 pm)

The Iraqi list of Allawi just gave its comments on the subject without supporting or rejecting what the Accord Front has said.
It is reported that Allawi said he has “reservations on the announced results” which he considered “unpleasantly surprising especially that the results weren’t expected to appear until another 10 days”.

The Iraqi list has also accused the election commission of bias and favoring one particular list [the UIA] over the rest, these accusations included the chief of the commission and another senior official.

Allawi added that only 24 hours before the commission made the latest announcement, the Iraqi list received news from inside the commission itself assuring them that the list won 18-20% of the counted votes in Baghdad and this contradicted the figures that were announced last night which gave Allawi only 14% of the votes.

Aadil al-Lami from the commission told al-Arabiya TV that they will be investigating several “mishaps” that occurred during the 15th of December election but he avoided answering the question if the commission would consider redoing the election in Baghdad or any other province.

Update: (5:00 pm)

The election commission already changed its opinion about the results they announced yesterday.
Ferid Ayar, another senior official in the commission appeared in a press conference less than an hour ago and “corrected” the vote-count of the UIA by cutting away 100,000 votes from it. Now the UIA has nearly 1,303,000 instead of 1,403,000 !

This is still not final result, said Ayar.

On the other hand, Salih al-Mutlaq a Sunni politician who leads the National Dialogue list has also furiously rejected the results and accused the commission of omitting the votes that came to his list and giving them away to the UIA.
He claimed that only in Babil, observers from his list who witnessed the local count were able to count around 60,000 votes for him while yesterday’s results gave him as low as 2,000 only.

Apparently we are facing a problem that cannot be solved overnight.

Update: (6:00 pm by Mohammed)

Reading the results in some detail on al-Sabah this morning, some of the numbers caught my attention and I’m talking here about the number of votes achieved by local small lists or individual candidates in the southern provinces.
The numbers I read were simply ridiculous and here are a few examples from Maysan:

-Lawyer Abdulwahid al-Lami is from the Lami tribe, the biggest in a province that is run by tribal relations. This candidate won 5 votes, yes 5 votes!
This means this man didn’t even get the votes of his own family…it doesn’t make sense. It is as if the man paid 1 million dinar for each vote since the registration fee for candidacy is 5 million dinars. Heh.

-Sheikh Raheem al-Sa’idi was also running from Maysan and he’s a local sheikh of a big tribe that has many thousands of members in the south. This sheikh won 17 votes only!
A usual sheikh is married to at least 3 wives and has dozens of children, brothers and cousins and this one won 17 votes only!

The reason why such numbers are totally ridiculous is because for any party or candidate to register, the commission asks them to bring 500 signatures from supporters!

It is clear that many parties and candidates were marginalized and betrayed by the election commission.
What the commission announced in the above update is just a futile attempt to relieve the growing tension in Iraq.
It is obvious now that the Sh’eat-Kurdish dominated commission which we hoped would act with integrity and transparency closed an eye on the violations committed by the Kurdish and religious She’at parties.

The Iraqi list of Allawi in another reaction said that they commission received 23 alerts of “Red Flag” complaints which represent the highest level of violations, a spokesman of the list said they will obstruct the formation of the new government if the commission ignored those complaints.

No comments: