Little Green Footballs

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Sunnis, Secular Shiites unite.....

....on voter fraud allegations.

Sunni Arab and secular political groups joined forces Wednesday to decide whether to call for a repeat of parliamentary elections that gave the Shiite religious bloc a larger than expected lead.

The main Sunni coalition has said the elections were tainted by fraud, including voting centers failing to open, shortages in election materials, reports of multiple voting and forgery.

The election commission, known as the IECI, has said it received 1,250 complaints about violations during the Dec. 15 elections, 25 of which it described as serious. But the commission says it does not expect the complaints will change the overall result, to be announced in January.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said ``there have been a number of complaints lodged with IECI, and their track record on following up on these things have been pretty good.''

The election commission's initial assessment ``was there no complaints or incidents that they found that would fall into the most severe category that would throw into question the results of the election,'' McCormack said. ``The IECI is going to work through these complaints and we'll see what they come up with.''

The agreement to join forces over registering complaints was reached at a meeting in the offices of a secular bloc headed by former Shiite Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, a U.S. favorite.

``We decided to form an operations room to collect the complaints from all the affected parties and present them to the Iraqi Electoral Commission'' and international organizations such as the U.N., said Naseer al-Ani of the Sunni Arab Iraqi Islamic Party.

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