BAGHDAD, Jan 19: Iraq’s December general election was marked by some fraud, but nothing that would call into question the final results, according to a team of foreign experts on Thursday. “Fraud and other violations did take place,” the International Mission for Iraqi Elections said in a 10-page report.

Fraud had forced the independent electoral commission to nullify the results from several dozen polling stations “where significant offences occurred”.

However, the IMIE added that “the team did not receive definitive evidence of other significant shortcomings in the conduct of the elections.”

The December 15 general elections, whose final results have not yet been announced, were held to elect a new four-year term parliament, the first such body since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003.

The IMIE team studied the results of voting at the request of the electoral commission after Sunni-based and secular parties complained of what they alleged was widespread fraud.

“A large number of complaints could not be treated with requisite rigour” because of lack of technical and human resources, according to the team, which noted that the law provided for an appeal process once final election results were published.

“The result of this election confirmed to the team that there is an urgent need, at this period in the history of Iraq, for a formation of a government of true national unity,” the experts said.—AFP

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