Iraqi court says it can’t stop parliament’s decision to annul, recount votes

Iraq’s federal court says it cannot prevent a manual recount of 100 percent, annul IDP, diaspora, and early votes because it would amount to the court expressing opinions, something against judicial norms.

In a session held on Wednesday, attended by all the judges including Lead Judge Madhat Mahmoud, five requests were examined to stop the parliament’s third amendment of the electoral law, said Ayas al-Samouk, the spokesperson for the federal court in a press release on Wednesday.

The parliament’s third amendment refers to the parliament’s decision to manually recount 100 percent of votes, annul IDP and diaspora votes, and advanced votes, and the removal of commissioners from Iraq’s High Independent Electoral Commission (IHEC) and replacing them with nine judges.

“Following deliberation, the Supreme Federal Court saw that issuing orders and decisions without hearing the other side in the case of appealing the third amendment, positively or negatively, might give the impression of the court giving its opinion on the case,” said Samouk.

The court says that all established judicial norms “prohibit the court from stating opinions or hinting at them until a conclusive ruling has been issued,” Samouk added.

The parliament then decided to “reject the request for issuing a ruling on stopping the implementation of the third amendment for the parliamentary electoral law,” Samouk said.

Abadi argued on Tuesday that a re-run of the election “is a legislative matter.” He noted there is a judiciary body within the IHEC.

The court’s non-decision allows for the parliament to move forward with its recount and annulment plans.

A fire broke out at a warehouse of the electoral commission on Sunday. The warehouse only contained votes cast in the predominately Shiite al-Rusafa area of Baghdad. Four people, including three police officers, were detained on Tuesday.

Parliament decided on the manual recount after allegations of the electronic voting system being hacked and other irregularities with the system that was new to Iraq.

Peshmerga in Sulaimani took to the streets to protest for the right of their votes to be counted on Wednesday. Source