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Iraqi Legislature Orders Recount Amid Charges of Electoral Fraud

FILE - Kareem al-Tamimi, spokesman of Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission announce the results of the country's Parliamentary elections early, May 19, 2018 in Baghdad.

The Iraqi legislature voted Wednesday to have a recount of votes in the country's May 12 parliamentary election and to suspend the panel charged with overseeing the election amid charges of electoral fraud.

The vote forces the Independent High Elections Commission (IHEC) to conduct the recount after it initially declined to do so and the replacement of the commission's leadership with nine judges.

The vote could impede the delicate process of forming a new government and puts the government and legislature at odds with the commission, whose mission is to operate independently. The commission declined to comment.

The parliament ordered a recount at all polling stations, where nearly 11 million votes were cast.

Iraq has been mired in confusion since the surprise victory for populist Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr, who is aligned with communists.

Since Sadr's victory, long-time political figures who were forced out by reform-minded Iraqi voters have been calling for a recount.

Intelligence services said tests of electronic voting machines, which were used for the first time in Iraq, produced inconsistent results, fueling claims of election fraud.

In a vote last week, the legislature voted to annul the ballots of displaced Iraqis and citizens living abroad.