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Iraq president, prime minister demand vote recount

Source: Mehr News Agency, Tehran

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have both asked a vote recount in this month's parliamentary elections.

In a statement issued on Sunday, al-Maliki said it was necessary to respond to the allegations of irregularities in order to preserve the country's political stability.

The demand from President Talabani came a after al-Maliki called on the election commission overseeing the counting to quickly respond to requests from political blocs for a recount.

The latest results from the parliamentary vote show al-Maliki's State of Law coalition trailing slightly behind the Iraqiya bloc of his rival Iyad Allawi, the former prime minister, with just over 92 per cent of the votes counted.

However, al-Maliki is winning in seven of Iraq's 18 provinces, which is significant because parliament seats are allotted based on the outcome of voting in each province.

"March 7 was a big step for democracy in Iraq," a statement from al-Maliki's office said, according to Al Jazeera.

"But many political entities are now demanding a recount by hand. This is to protect democracy and to preserve the legitimacy of the electoral process.

"As I still hold executive power, and as the head of the political process in this country, and as the leader of the armed forces, I ask the Independent High Electoral Commission [IHEC] to respond immediately to the demands of these political entities, to preserve political stability and to avoid a deterioration of security and a return of violence which was quelled after much effort and loss of blood."

Talabani, in a statement on his website on Sunday, demanded an immediate recount to "preclude any doubt and misunderstanding" in the results.

"As the president of the state, authorized to preserve the constitution and to ensure justice and absolute transparency, I demand the Independent High Electoral Commission recount the ballots manually starting from Sunday, March 21," Talabani said as quoted by the Associated Press.

... Payvand News - 03/21/10 ... --

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