Shia leaders announce commitment to federal court’s ruling on election results

A combined picture of Shia leaders Moqtada al-Sadr (L), Nouri al-Maliki, Hadi al-Amiri and Ammar al-Hakim

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraqi Shia leaders announced their commitment to the federal court’s ruling on the results of the October parliamentary election.

On Monday, Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court approved the election results announced by the electoral commission on Nov. 30 and also rejected a motion to annul the results.

The motion was filed by al-Fateh Alliance led by Hadi al-Amiri. The alliance said the electronic voting system had failed to recognize the finger print identification of many votes.

Following the ruling, Amiri said he would abide by the court’s decision despite his belief that the electoral process was “marred by a lot of fraud and manipulation”.

“The appeal we filed at the Federal Court was courteous, logical and acceptable, and if it was submitted to any constitutional court in any country that respects democracy, it would have been sufficient to annul the election results,” he said in a statement.

Qais al-Khazali, the secretary-general of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, also announced his commitment to the ruling, saying it, however, didn’t mean they had relinquished their right to continue using peaceful political and social means to correct the course.

“In reverence for the public interest, and the importance of preserving state institutions, especially the judiciary, we announce our commitment to the Federal Court’s ruling,” Khazali said.

The Sadrist Movement, led by Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, won nearly a fifth of the seats – 73 out of the assembly’s total 329.

The Taqqadum Party, which draws support from minority Sunni Muslims, won 37 seats, according to the final results.

Former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law Alliance won 33 seats, the results showed. A distant second with 17 seats was the al-Fateh Alliance, the political arm of Hashid al-Shaabi.

Head of al-Nasr coalition Haider al-Abadi, former prime minister, said the commitment to the legal and constitutional contexts of the state required them to accept the decision.

“We will remain with the state of citizens, the sovereignty of institutions, the unity and pride of its people,” he said in a statement.

Ammar al-Hakim, leader of the State Forces’ Alliance, announced his commitment to the ruling and congratulated the winners.

Nouri al-Maliki, head of the State of Law Coalition, however, said he had hoped the federal court would do justice to those affected by the results.

“It was expected, and for reasons related to the country’s situation, that it was not possible to cancel the elections and repeat them, despite the presence of clear documents and evidence,” he said in a tweet.

Sadr also welcomed the court’s ruling, calling for expediting the formation of a “national majority government”.

Sadr has said he will ally himself with whoever puts Iraq’s national interests first. That is an indication, Iraqi officials and Western diplomats say, that he may exclude some Iran-backed Shia groups in favor of parties with cross-sectarian support, according to Reuters.

Sunni and Kurdish parties also welcomed the court’s ruling.

Mohammed al-Halbousi, leader of Taqqadum Party, said he would adhere to the decision and that it was a step towards achieving the democratic path.

In a statement, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) said it was time for the political parties to begin political efforts to hold the first session of the parliament.

“The entities and political powers should start the constitutional measures to form a new government,” PUK spokesman Amin Baba Sheikh said.

Under Iraq’s constitution, President Barham Salih should now call the new parliament into session within 15 days.

Since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled minority Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein, Iraqi governments have been dominated by parties from the Shia majority, in coalitions that have included Kurdish parties.

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