Doug Struck of the Washington Post reports that Iraqi Sunnis claim last week’s election was rigged.
Sunni and secular political parties angrily claimed Tuesday that Iraq’s national election was rigged, threatening to leave in shambles the delicate plan to bring Iraq’s wary factions together in a new government.
Faced with an emerging strong victory by the religious Shiite group that has close ties to Iran, the minority Sunnis demanded a new election and hinted darkly that the violence of the insurgency would be accelerated by the suspicions of fraud.
Early voting results announced by Iraqi electoral officials yesterday, reflecting two-thirds of the ballots, showed religious (mostly Shiite) groups taking a commanding lead. Today, with 95 percent of votes counted, it appears conservative religious Shiite groups will dominate the parliament and the selection of the country’s prime minister.
Former prime minister Ayad Allawi, whose secular slate appeared likely to take a small, fourth-place role in the government, also questioned the results of Thursday’s polling and called a meeting for Wednesday of other groups angry with the outcome.
And Salah Mutlak, who headed an independent Sunni slate, said, “I don’t think there is any practical point for us for being in this National Assembly if things stay like this.”
This is not a positive development, I suspect.