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Last Updated: Friday, 23 December 2005, 16:05 GMT
UN rules out Iraqi election rerun
Election officials count ballots in Samarra
Election officials say the complaints are unlikely to change the result
The UN says there is no reason to rerun last week's Iraqi parliamentary elections, despite complaints of fraud.

The UN adviser to Iraq's election commission, Craig Jenness, said the complaints were not significant.

On Thursday 35 parties rejected partial results showing continued dominance for the main Shia-led coalition.

Thousands of Sunni Muslims and secular Shia protested in Baghdad on Friday, calling for a rerun. Final results are expected at the beginning of January.

Complaints 'normal'

Mr Jenness admitted the decision to hold a new election would rest with the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI), but said he would be very surprised if that is what it did.

"I don't see anything that would necessitate a rerun," Mr Jenness told Reuters.

"There have been around 1,500 complaints, which the commission is in the process of examining, but out of 30,000 ballot boxes that's not such a big number."

Mr Jenness said it was natural some of Iraq's parties would be unhappy with the results.

"There were nearly 7,000 candidates standing in this election and only 275 seats, so you're always going to have winners and losers and it's normal that the losers won't always be happy about it," he said.


Major Sunni Arab alliances, such as the Iraqi Accord Front and the Iraqi Front for National Dialogue, joined secular groups such as former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's Iraqi National List on Thursday in condemning the results.

275-seat National Assembly will have four-year term
18 provinces are taken as separate constituencies
230 seats allocated according to population
45 seats distributed to parties whose ethnic, religious or political support is spread over more than one province
15 million eligible voter
One third of candidates in each party must be women

"We totally reject the results of these rigged elections and call for the cancellation of the early results," a joint statement issued by the parties said.

"We hold the IECI responsible for all the violations which took place during the elections and demand that it be dissolved and a suitable alternative to be found," it added.

"If this is not achieved, then we will have no choice but to refuse the results and boycott the new parliament."

President meets parties

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said at a news conference on Friday that he will hold meetings with all political blocs to persuade them to stay within the framework of the political process.

"I urge them to submit their objections to the relevant courts or to the IECI so that if logical, reasonable, and documented objections are observed, the IECI and the relevant courts should give orders in favour of these parties," he said.

"However, if these objections emanate from mere speculation, I believe that the brothers in these parties should act as sportsmen and accept the final results to be announced by the IECI."

Mr Talabani pointed out that the Kurdistan Alliance, which is leading in four northern provinces, had complained that tens of thousands of voters were not allowed to cast their vote and that there was a shortage in ballot papers.

"The results are in proportion with the true size of each segment and alliance," he added.


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