Alleged voting irregularities leave bitter taste in losers' mouths
Iraqi supreme court rejects appeal to cancel election results
Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court on Sunday rejected a request to cancel the country's parliamentary election results over allegations of voter rigging and fraud.
Complaints of irregularities in the balloting were raised by several political parties suggesting that hackers may have manipulated the results after electronic voting systems were used for the first time.
“The Iraqi supreme federal court met and discussed the complaints presented and have decided not to proceed any further," the spokesman of the court, Eyas Al Samok said.
Instead Mr Al Samok said that the issue must be raised to the Independent High Electoral Commission "which is responsible for accepting complaints and objections to alleged violations during the election period."
Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi ordered the creation of a high powered commission to investigate the claims.
An official statement said an emergency cabinet meeting, held late on Thursday and chaired by Mr Al Abadi, named the country's anti-graft chief as the commission's leader.
According to the statement the prime minister ordered the elections commission to fully cooperate with the probe, making available all relevant documents. The probe's findings will be presented to the prime minister as well as the Supreme Judicial Council and the Federal Supreme Court.
The elections this year saw the lowest voter turnout in the 15 years since former dictator Saddam Hussein was ousted by US forces in 2003.
The repeat vote being sought by some is not expected to have an impact on the surprising results that put Shiite Cleric Moqtada Al Sadr's Marching Towards Reform bloc as the biggest winner.
The results dealt a blow to the incumbent prime minister, whose Victory Alliance came in third. But he could still emerge as a compromise candidate palatable to all sides because he has managed the competing interests of the US and Iran – unwitting allies in the war against ISIS – during his term in office.
Negotiations to form a coalition with a majority in parliament that can form the next government began last week. In past the process lasted months, but, the alleged voting irregularities could cause further delays.
Meanwhile, US-led coalition forces launched airstrikes on Friday against ISIS sleeper cells in the southern city of Kirkuk.
The strikes were launched in cooperation with Iraq’s army and police that “targeted ISIS pockets in Kirkuk’s Rashadi area.”
Mr Al Abadi declared victory over ISIS in December after security forces seized the last pockets of Iraqi territory held by the militants. But recent months have seen ISIS carry out attacks in the north, killing dozens of civilians.
Last month, the premier said he would "take all necessary measures if they threaten the security of Iraq", referring to the militants who just three years ago overran a third of the country.
In Mosul, where the insurgents claimed their caliphate rule, a group of Iraqi university students have found a cause in the ruins of the war torn city, they are salvaging what is left of its rich heritage, clearing rubble and distributing aid.
The project began when Raghad Hammoudi and a group of students decided to launch a campaign to help rebuild the Central Library of Mosul University.
The students found buried under layers of ash nearly 30,000 books almost intact. Over 40 hot days, with the remnants of war still raging, the students moved the books one by one using holes made by rockets to carry them to safety.
Months after Iraq announced full control of the city, life is back in many parts. But much of the old city, where the bloodiest battles were waged, is still in complete ruin.