Relaymedia

Iraq Elections Credible Amid Fraud Complaints

Thousands of people rallied against the Iraqi elections, claiming fraud and demanding a rerun. With large participation during the December vote.
( [email protected] ) Dec 30, 2005 10:16 AM EST

Thousands of people rallied against the Iraqi elections, claiming fraud and demanding a rerun. With large participation during the December vote, however, a United Nations official said the elections were credible and a re-vote was not necessary.

"Turnout was high and the day was largely peaceful, all communities participated," said Craig Jenness, the United Nations official, according to The Associated Press.

Jenness said the international election assistance team found the elections were credible and transparent. The vote saw a 70 percent turnout in Iraq with the Shiite religious groups taking the lead.

Although there was a large increase in the number of Sunni voters, Sunni Arabs and secular Shiites protested against the votes, which they alleged to be tainted.

"We refuse the election forgery," said banners held by Sunni Arab supporters in Samarra.

More than 1,500 complaints of fraud were made regarding the elections and Iraqi officials said some are serious enough to possibly have the results cancelled in some places. Despite possible cancellations, the U.N. sees no justification to hold a rerun.

"Complaints must be adjudicated fairly, but we in the United Nations see no justification in calls for a rerun of any election," said Jenness.

The Shiite religious bloc took the leading victory among Iraqi voters, initial results showed, and was second among expatriates in the United States, behind the Christian slate. With final results expected early January, the Shiite Islamists are slated to win about 130 seats in the 275-member parliament. Short of the 184 seats, the Shiite religious slate is required to form a coalition with other groups to govern.

"Our goal is to have a partnership government that enjoys a wide base of support," said Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the Shiite religious coalition.

Talks began on Tuesday with Kurdish leaders to choose people for the top 12 government jobs along with candidates for the prime minister seat.