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Little Change in Iraq Parliament Seats After Recount

Iraq’s parliamentary seating distribution was little changed after a recount of national election ballots in Baghdad, the country’s electoral commission said.

“The results from what has been announced previously and those of the recount are very much similar,” said Kassem al-Aboudi, administrative director of the Independent High Electoral Commission at a press conference in Baghdad. He added that there was an only “minimal change” affecting 3,000 votes from among the 2.5 million cast at 11,000 polling stations in Baghdad March 7.

The recount showed two candidates lost their seats, one from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law coalition and the other from the list of his rival, former prime minister Ayad Allawi’s Iraqiya alliance. Both were replaced by candidates from their own coalitions and all the alliances kept the same exact numbers of seats as previously announced, al-Aboudi said.

The results of the vote recount can be appealed once it is published by the official gazette, he said.

An Iraqi court on April 19 backed a request by Maliki’s coalition to recount the votes on allegations of fraud and irregularities. Maliki’s bloc came in second in the election with 89 seats to 91 secured by Allawi’s Iraqiya. The inconclusive outcome of the election triggered political disputes and raised concern about Iraq’s stability as the U.S. prepares to withdraw its troops from the country.

The vote recount in Iraq, which holds the world’s third-largest oil reserves, was supervised by 200 local monitors and United Nations and Arab League officials.

The Arab League did not register any violation during the vote recount operation, Mohammad al-Khamlishi, the head of the Arab League delegation of the election observers, said at the press conference.

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