Iraq PM demands poll recount

2010-03-21 21:24

Baghdad - Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is locked in a tight battle with his main rival to form Iraq's next government, called on Sunday for a recount of votes cast in the country's March 7 polls.

This comes as a spokesperson for the country's election commission said the final results from the parliamentary polls would be published on March 26.

"Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki calls for the high electoral commission to immediately answer the demands of political parties to proceed with a manual recount," the statement said.

Latest figures by Iraq's election commission and based on 92% of ballots counted show Maliki's State of Law Alliance trailing the bloc of his main rival, Iyad Allawi, by 7 928 votes.

The statement added, noting that Maliki remained head of the country's armed forces, that he wanted a recount to "protect political stability, avoid a degradation of the security situation and prevent a return to violence".

The statement did not specify whether he wanted a nationwide recount, or of particular provinces.

It differs markedly from Maliki's own comments just a week ago, when he said on television that election complaints were "very small" in nature and "cannot affect the results".