UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
IRAQ: Sunni leaders question initial election results
BAGHDAD, 21 December 2005 (IRIN) - Sunni Arab parties claimed that results of Iraq’s parliamentary election were inaccurate after initial counts in the capital, Baghdad, showed nearly 59 percent of the vote going to the Shi’ite United Iraqi Alliance.
With almost 90 percent of the ballots counted, the Shi’ite grouping appeared to come in first, with more than half of the total votes cast.
The Sunni block, meanwhile, represented primarily by the umbrella National Accord Front, trailed behind with only 19 percent.
On 15 December, voters cast ballots for 275 elected seats in the national assembly. The elected government, which will serve a four-year term, will in turn choose a president and two deputies from among its members.
“Partial results in the capital show that the election was unfair because Sunnis were expected to have many more votes,” said Adnan al-Dulaymi, a leader of the Sunni coalition. “We demand a new poll in the capital because this one was fraudulent.”
“International organisations and the United Nations should support the call for another election before a revolt breaks out,” al-Dulaymi declared.
Despite numerous complaints among Sunnis, the Independent Electoral Commission in Iraq (IECI) stated on Tuesday that initial results were correct.
“It’s true that more than 1,000 complaints have been raised so far, many of them in the capital,” said IECI spokesperson Farid Ayar. “But these won’t be enough to change the overall results.”
Ayar added: “We expect the Sunni alliance and other groups to accept the results and take the difference in the population of ethnic groups in the capital as the main reason for the huge support for Shi’ite parties.”
Shi’ites make up roughly 60 percent of the Iraqi population. Kurds represent approximately 20 percent, and Sunnis are estimated to constitute between 15 and 20 percent.
Despite their minority status, however, Sunnis enjoyed a privileged position inside the country during the presidency of Saddam Hussein, who was himself a Sunni.
Meanwhile, in the western Anbar governorate, considered a Sunni stronghold, Sunni parties took more than 79 percent of the vote, while Shi’te candidates took only two percent.
According to officials, nearly 80 percent of the votes have been counted in Anbar.
Themes: (IRIN) Governance
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