Shadow of vote rigging justifies manual recount, says Christian leader

The Iraqi Parliament has approved a motion that requires the recounting of the ballots. Controversy over the electronic voting system. Yonadam Kanna: "Correct" approach to dispel "doubts" and guarantee "trust" in institutions. An explosion shakes Sadr City in Baghdad, but not suspected terrorism.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) - The decision to proceed with a vote check is "a correct approach" because, in recent weeks, "several doubts" have emerged around the legitimacy and regularity of the electronic voting system that "caused quite a few problems", says Christian parliamentarian Yonadam Kanna.

The leader of the Assyrian Democratic Movement, and a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Labor and Social Affairs was commenting to AsiaNews on the recent decision to hold a vote recount. Kanna is a member of the outgoing Parliament, which will remain in office until the end of the month awaiting the official results of the recent elections.

However, as confirmed by the Christian leader himself "there are suspicions of fraud and irregularities, so we decided to proceed with the manual recount of votes". A choice dictated by the intention to send a clear signal to voters and citizens, to help boost a "greater trust" in the institutions.

Yesterday, the Iraqi Parliament approved the motion for a recount of the votes of last 12 May, which saw the victory of the radical Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr and his populist and anti-system movement. Recently rumours of rigging and disputes had emerged, prompting the government to form a commission of inquiry and to postpone the officialization of the results.

In recent days, the deputies have changed the leadership of the electoral commission and cancelled the votes of Iraqis abroad and internally displaced persons. The same outgoing premier Haider al-Abadi, third with his Nasr coalition, spoke of "unprecedented" violations that undermine the regularity of the vote and accuses the commission of "not having taken the necessary measures" to ward off irregularities.

At the centre of the dispute are the electronic voting machines (pictured) used for the first time in the history of the country on May 12th. At the moment it is not possible to predict if the decision to recount the votes will bring changes; however, Yonadam Kanna believes that there may be some surprises and does not exclude some "change" in the number of votes and in the names of elected parliamentarians.

"All three powers of the State, executive, legislative and judicial - he underlines - agree on the need to proceed with the recount. Even among the elected Christian parliamentarians there could be some news, even if there remains a basic dissatisfaction because the minorities vote was not given the right importance ".

Meanwhile, overnight, a major explosion in the Sadr City district of Baghdad caused the death of at least 16 people and injured dozens. According to some witnesses, a weapons depot exploded. Security forces have opened an investigation to trace the causes and identify those responsible. Local sources, behind anonymity, report the explosion was caused by heavy weapons, including a grenade launcher, stored in a private home.

"This episode has no relation to the security issue or the danger of attacks. It was not, in all probability, a terrorist action. It is reasonable to think - concludes the Christian leader - that it was an accident."(DS)