Thursday, October 20, 2005

Iraq vote fraud - FT report

According to Steve Negus at the Financial Times, 18 October 2005, Sunni Arab leaders claim that irregularities in voting in one closely-contested governorate risk endangering the legitimacy of the constitutional referendum.

According to the FT:

1. Most voters in at least two predominantly Sunni Arab governorates, Anbar and Salaheddin, appear to have voted against the constitution.

2. The early results suggest the outcome in the provinces of Diala and Ninawah, which are ethnically mixed but thought to be majority Sunni, may be decisive in determining whether opponents of the draft have mustered the two-thirds majority needed to defeat it.

Some Sunni politicians said an early tally of 55 per cent against in Diala, although it would fall short of the two-thirds mark, was within the bounds of credibility given the large population of Shia and Kurds in the governorate.

3. More controversial, however, have been reports that up to 70 per cent of the voters in Ninawah voted “yes” a tally that some local Sunni Arab politicians say does not correspond with reports that they received on election day.

4. Saleh al-Mutlek, a Sunni politician and prominent opponent of the charter, said that in the provincial capital of Mosul, carloads of Iraqi National Guards had seized ballot boxs from a polling station and transfered them to a governorate office controlled by Kurds. “There is a scheme to alter the results” of the referendum, he claimed.

5. Other Sunnis have claimed members of the main Shia and Kurdish parties in some governorates had filled out blank ballots and stuffed them into boxes after the polls closed.
Similar irregularities were alleged in January's parliamentary vote, and Iraqi observers said ballot box stuffing would be very easy to carry out in small, ethnically homogenous communities, be they Shia, Kurdish, or Sunni Arab, where all monitors and observers were likely to be from the same or allied political parties.



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