Election Rigging Iraqi-Style?

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Election Rigging Iraqi-Style?

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

Election rigging dates from when they were first held. In some countries today, it’s done with electronic ease.

Other techniques include ballot box stuffing, undercounting, double-counting, disenfranchising unwanted voters, disenfranchising, arresting, or assassinating candidates considered unacceptable by powerful interests, among other dirty tricks to prevent democratic outcomes, anathema in most countries, including Western ones.

The idea of a free, fair, and open Iraqi election is a contradiction of terms under any conditions – all the harder under partial US occupation and daily violence in parts of the country by US-controlled terrorists.

Previous articles discussed Iraqi election results. Around 7,000 candidates competed for 329 seats in parliament.

The majority Shia country reserves the key prime ministerial position for one of its candidates. Kurds hold the largely ceremonial presidency, a Sunni serving as parliament speaker.

Washington wants control maintained over the nation. Results surprised. Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s coalition won 54 seats, the Hadi al-Amiri alliance 47 seats, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s bloc finishing third with 42 seats.

It wasn’t the outcome the Trump regime wanted. With no coalition majority winner, it’s unclear who’ll run the country, less clear if a new election is held.

Following claims of fraud, Iraq’s parliament ordered a full recount – not possible because of a Sunday warehouse fire in Baghdad where ballots were stored, an unfortunate accident or arson so far not known.

Reportedly, boxes with ballots from Baghdad’s Rusafa district were destroyed. Iraqi parliament speaker Salim al-Jabouri lost his seat.

Unsurprisingly he called for a new election in the wake of Sunday’s fire, claiming it was deliberate, proof of fraud. 

Prime Minister Haider Abadi made similar comments, saying “(b)urning election warehouses…is a plot to harm the nation and its democracy (sic). We will take all necessary measures and strike with an iron fist all who undermine the security of the nation and its citizens.”

Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for Iraqi unity. His bloc potentially has the most to lose from an election rerun. “Stop fighting for seats, posts, gains, influence, power, and rulership,” he said, adding:

“Is it not time to stand as one for building and reconstruction instead of burning ballot boxes or repeating elections just for one seat or two?”

“I will not sell the nation for seats and will not sell the people for power. Iraq is my concern. Positions for me do not mean much.”

A Sadr aide said the blaze was set to force a reelection or to conceal fraud. Baghdad province council member Mohammed al-Rabeei said “I can tell you all the boxes and papers have burned.”

The affected warehouse is one of four at the site. According to General Saad Maan, “most of the important boxes are in the three warehouses where the fire has been controlled.”

It’s unclear what’s next – a new election, a partial recount, or standing pat with May 12 results.

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.