Iraq and Gulf Analysis

IHEC Releases Partial Results for Babel and Najaf

Posted by Reidar Visser on Thursday, 11 March 2010 16:39

The Iraqi elections commission today published far less material than had been expected in the first major release of partial results from the 7 March elections. Only two governorates, Babel and Najaf, were covered.

The released numbers largely tend to confirm the leaks that have circulated so far as far as the relative performance of the big blocs are concerned. Total numbers have not filtered through so far, but assuming that the numbers that circulate in the public domain for the biggest lists reflect the lion’s share of votes, the partial results put Maliki in the lead in Babel with around 41%, followed by the Iraqi National Alliance (INA) with 33% and Iraqiyya third at around 19%. The picture for Najaf is somewhat similar: State of Law, 48%; INA, 42%; Iraqiyya, 8%. All percentages should be adjusted slightly downwards since small parties have been omitted from the statistics released so far.

It is interesting that these figures are pretty much in harmony with the “exit poll” published by the Ayn organisation earlier in the week, which had 41-29-19 in Babel and 49-30-7 in Najaf. They also suggest a far stronger performance by Maliki than could have been expected on the basis of a simulation of January 2009 results adjusted for alliance changes, and also a degree of consolidation for Iraqiyya, albeit on a smaller scale. It is however a cause for concern that IHEC needs to ruminate for so long over the numbers before they are released, with continued uncertainty as to whether more partial results will be released before the weekend.

UPDATE: The release of the results seems to have run into political problems. Iraqi newswire reports late Thursday said IHEC had additionally announced Iraqiyya as the forerunner in Diyala followed by INA; the Kurdistan Alliance followed by Goran in Arbil, and State of Law allegedly ahead in Salahaddin, followed by Iraqiyya and Unity of Iraq. If the latter is correct (only a headline to go by at this stage) it would be quite shocking, since an Iraqiyya lead had been expected even if Maliki has given some support to the sacked IIP governor there lately. Apparently, though, these latter results reflect only 17% of the total votes in the respective governorates (and in the cases of Diyala and Salahaddin thus could be affected by enclave-like features of the local geography).

POSTSCRIPT: Also, in fact late in the night on Thursday IHEC corrected the initial figures and put Iraqiyya in the lead in Salahaddin.

11 Responses to “IHEC Releases Partial Results for Babel and Najaf”

  1. Zahra said

    Dear Reider,

    I wonder what you think of Staun Stevenson’s successive press releases?

    He says in his latest one:

    “It appears that massive efforts are going into attempts to deny victory to Mr Allawi and his secularist, nationalist Al-Iraqiya list, who clearly must have secured an outright victory in the polls when such blatant attempts at fraud are taking place.

    It seems like he is already convinced that Iraqiyya have won and are being robbed. Has it at all occured to him that people convincing him of this may have a political motivation for doing so?

  2. bb said

    And I was just thinking much time has to be allowed for the nefarious ethno-sectarians on the IHEC to forge those ballot papers.

  3. Reidar Visser said

    Zahra, maybe some of the claims by Struan Stevenson seem somewhat exaggerated, but with not even partial results reported by the end of this week you cannot help wondering why the IHEC is taking so long time. Even in 2005, they managed to have partial results for all governorates one week after the poll. I personally am a little bewildered by the way Iraqiyya is focusing their IHEC criticism on Maliki since I always thought that INA, the Kurds and Tawafuq were better represented on the committee. Some of this may relate to recent top-level changes in the commission that were seen to be politicised as well as the specific accusation that Haydar al-Ibadi at one point during the counting process physically entered IHEC spaces where he should not have been as per the rules of the game. But it cannot escape notice that the whole de-Baath witch hunt originated with INA rather than with Daawa, that IHEC has dutifully served as a proxy for Chalabi throughout this process, and that Daawa for a while seemed to accept the initial reinstatement by the appeals court whereas INA protested.

  4. bb said

    Times analyst Oliver August says:

    “According to Western observers and officials, manipulating the tallying of votes would be extremely difficult.

    “All results are entered into a secure computer system twice by two different people in different locations. As soon as a discrepancy shows up, a supervised recount is conducted.

    “Tampering with the election computers would be even more difficult, insiders say. The system scans entries for sudden changes and logs all data shifts for subsequent checks.

    “Anyone attempting fraud would need the co-operation of the UN and the election commission,” said one official.”

    My own expectation is that there is a massive bunfight going on between the INA, Iraqiyya and State of Law observers at the tally centres over every single vote and that the IHEC is being extremely cautious in releasing numbers as a result.

  5. Salah said

    Even in 2005, they managed to have partial results for all governorates one week after the poll.

    ONE WEEK in hill of sectarians cleansing ate that time also missing ballot box for THREE days.. so it took ONE WEEK

    Now day there is no excuses that IHEC will needs one week to give their counts, while they promised in four days still long enough with 2005.

    Reidar, is that IHEC “cooking” some thing?

  6. Salah said

    قال وزير الداخلية جواد البولاني إن هناك تدخلات حصلت من قبل بعض الجهات السياسية للتأثير على العملية الانتخابية
    وقال البولاني ان هناك بعض الجهات نقلت صناديق إقتراع في ظروف غامضة ومشكوكة. وان هناك ضغوط مورست على الناخبين في الإقتراع الخاص.
    كما تحدث البولاني في تصريحات تلفزيونية ان ما حدث شوه العملية الانتخابية ولا يمكن أن تكون النتائج معبرة بشكل حقيقي عن رأي الشعب العراقي.

    وقال أن الادلة التي تم الحصول عليها تم ارسالها الى المفوضية لإتخاذ الاجراءات الصحيحة. مشيرا الى ان هناك اتهامات كثيرة تحتاج المفوضية الى تقديم اجوبة مقنعة بشأنها.

    الأسماء العشرة الأولى التي حضت بالحصة الأكبر بالنتائج الأولية للاقتراع الخاص في ذي قار

  7. Ali Wasati said

    ITs a joke that there has been massive fraud because Maliki is winning. I mean have they forgot how well he did in the last local elections, he sweeped baghdad and the south, and no one complained of fruad then.

    This is unfortunately the culture of politics in Iraq, its not matured like in the west. The losers will always claim fraud, everyone knows this.

    Allawi has shown himself not be a decent man to claim that he should win, i mean does he think the south will vote for him in large numbers when he surrounds himself with Mutlaq, thafir al ani and hashemi, the most hated individuals in the south, for god sake, I hope the west and the UN will come out and support the results and I’m sure they will.

    Reidar, i saw an interview yesterday with someone from IHEC, and they stated they are talking long because of many complaints that have been filed by Iraqia, they dont want to come out with the results until they are checked thoroughly


  8. Reidar Visser said

    Ali, thanks, just a minor comment, Maliki did not win massively in the south in Jan 2009 except Basra. If you take the Jan 2009 results and re-calculate percentages with INA consisting of ISCI, Sadrists and Jaafari, INA actually wins in most places. Of course that does not exclude the possibility that Maliki in 2010 was in fact able to replicate his success from Basra and Baghdad in 2009 across the south, but the transformation within one year in places like Najaf and Babel is certainly remarkable.

  9. Ali Wasati said

    thats a good point Reidar, i have’nt actually thought about it that way. I would be very interested when more results come out, for you to give your opinion on how fair the results are and whether there was massive fruad that could have denied a particular party the right to form the next government.



  10. Salah said

    The other half of the event undermined this utopian fantasy. We were addressed by Alaa Abdul Latef, a representative from The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) sent to organise the election in the UK. Alaa spent most of the evening doodling on a piece of paper like a despondent teenager who had been forced by his parents to attend an event against his will. He spoke in a barely audible voice and rarely if ever looked directly at the audience. His presentation was short and uninformative. He failed to mention where the election was going to take place until a member of the audience asked him about it. He told us that there would be ‘two centres’ in Wembley, both in the same building and others in Birmingham and Manchester. When asked why the election was not being held in multiple centres to cater for the needs of the large Iraqi community in London, he mumbled something about inadequate time and budget to prepare for the election without offering a reason for that inadequacy. He went on to say that in order to vote, members of the expatriate community would have to present documents proving to which district in Iraq they belong. Very quickly it was pointed out to Alaa that many Iraqis have no such documents for a variety of reasons amongst them: leaving those documents behind in Iraq when they fled the country or for the younger generation, being born in exile. Alaa’s answer was: ‘well you all had four years to get your papers in order’. At this point a man in the audience shouted: ‘you’ve had four years to organise a decent election and you failed, how dare you lay the blame at our door?!’ The moderator told the man to be quiet and Alaa continued his relentless doodling.

  11. ‘well you all had four years to get your papers in order’
    Salah, this is a very good story; Abdul Lateef’s attitude is addressing all parties in Iraq, it shows how only the Iranians did their homework and took the initiative.
    The Iraqi nationalists seem unprepared for the claims of election fraud with premature and rage responses to small incidents which can be easily deflected or politicized, when they should have focused on major vote rigging (if any..) which can be proved forensically and be impossible to politicise, like UV examination of ballots and tallying destroyed and missing ballots. As for the US, the claims of election fraud is a non-issue from the beginning..

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