Iraqi president calls for calm amid dispute over election results

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Iraqi President Barham Salih on Friday called on objectors to Sunday’s early election results to calm down and resort to law to preserve the country’s stability.

“We call on all parties to adopt a responsible national stance, keep calm, and avoid any escalation that might affect societal peace and security,” Salih said in a statement issued by the presidency media office. Meanwhile, Salih urged the electoral commission and the judiciary to follow up on all complaints and appeals submitted by those who reject the election results with high professionalism, responsibility, and complete impartiality, according to the statement. On Monday, the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) announced the preliminary results of early parliamentary elections, with the Sadrist Movement led by the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in the lead with more than 70 seats, while the al-Fateh Coalition (Conquest), which includes some Shiite militias of Hashd Shaabi, garnered about 17 seats after becoming one of the leading blocs in the previous 2018 elections.

However, the Imtidad Movement, whose members joined the 2019 mass protests against corruption and mismanagement, also won about nine seats. The initial results were surprising to many political parties, who denounced the early elections as manipulation and fraud and warned that they will not accept the “fabricated results” whatever the cost is. The Iraqi parliamentary elections, originally scheduled for 2022, were held in advance in response to months of protests against corruption, poor governance and a lack of public services. In Sunday’s polls, 3,249 candidates within 167 parties and coalitions competed for 329 seats in the upcoming parliament.

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