35 Iraqi political groups demand international probe into alleged vote-rigging, threaten to boycott new parliament.
Middle East Onlne, 22 December2005
BAGHDAD – Thirty-five Iraqi political groups, including secular Shiites and Sunni Arabs, on Thursday rejected early results announced in the wake of last week’s general elections and called for a new poll.
The groups, including the main Sunni Arab coalition, a secular Shiite bloc headed by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, and the National Congress headed by former minister Ahmed Chalabi, also demanded an international probe into alleged vote-rigging and threatened to boycott the new parliament.
"We totally reject the results of these rigged elections and call for the cancellation of the early results" announced by the electoral commission, a joint statement said.
They also accused the electoral commission of abetting fraud and demanded an international investigation into "violations and irregularities that have marred the electoral process".
The December 15 general election, the third poll this year, was held to elect a full four-year parliament.
Early results suggest religious Shiite parties will have a large majority in the new parliament.
The main Sunni parties came top of the polls in four of Iraq’s 18 provinces.
The electoral commission said earlier this week it had received more than 1,000 complaints related to the election, but added that only 20 of these were "serious" and liable to result in the cancellation of votes.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Wednesday that Iraqi election officials had so far found no major irregularities that could affect the result.
"The initial assessment right in the days after the election was that there were no complaints or incidents that they found that would fall into the most severe category that would throw into question the results," he said.
The groups threatened to boycott the future parliament, warning such a development could lead to "the worsening of the cycle of violence and bloody fighting," and even to the break-up of the country.