Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi reported on Tuesday, June 5, that there were “dangerous violations” in the parliamentary elections which took place on May 12, mostly blaming the Independent High Elections Commission (IHEC) for the violations. Abadi has consequently banned IHEC members from traveling abroad without his consent. A report issued to the Iraqi government has reportedly recommended that authorities initiate a full manual recount and void ballots from overseas and displaced voters.
These voting irregularities and annulments could foment political unrest in affected areas. Heightened security measures and transportation disruptions are expected near any gatherings. In the event of protests or demonstrations, clashes between the police and protesters cannot be ruled out.
On May 30, the IHEC announced it would annul the results of 1021 polling places for the May 12 parliamentary vote due to fraud.
On May 24, Iraq's cabinet formed a committee to review any breaches or violations into the elections following reports of possible electronic rigging. Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi rejected calls to annul the vote results on May 29, criticizing the IHEC's statements and suggesting the possibility of a "civil war" should the results be annulled. According to the election results, the Sairoun Alliance - headed by Moqtada Al-Sadr and comprised of his Progressive Reform party and Iraq's Communist party - won more than 1.3 million votes in the May 12 election, gaining 54 seats in the 329-seat parliament. None of the competing blocs won a majority in parliament nor have the ability to name a prime minister alone.
Individuals in Iraq are advised to closely monitor the situation. The security environment in Iraq remains complex. Although travel is possible in some areas with proper security protocols in place, other areas should be considered strictly off-limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to all travel.
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