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Questions Mount About Possible Fraud in Iraq Vote

Isabel Coles and Ali Nabhan write for The Wall Street Journal:

The United Nations and Iraqi political leaders on Thursday called for investigating electoral-fraud complaints and sought manual recounts in some districts, as questions intensified about the legitimacy of the country’s recent parliamentary vote.

Overall, the recounts being sought aren’t expected to affect the surprising election results from Saturday, when Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s coalition won the most seats. But the fraud claims have delayed the official tally of the vote and deepened Iraqis mistrust in the electoral process, which saw turnout fall to its lowest level since the country became a democracy fifteen years ago.

Less than 45% of voters participated in the election, a low number considered a factor in Mr. Sadr’s victory because his largely poor, dedicated followers showed up when other politicians’ bases stayed home. Mr. Sadr’s militias had fought against the U.S. following the 2003 invasion and were accused of sectarian atrocities but he has forged a more mainstream path in recent years.

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