2018-07-26 18:48:00

Iraqi electoral officials have finished manually recounting results of the country’s May 12 parliamentary polls in 16 provinces.

In a Thursday statement, electoral commission spokesman Laith Jabr said the recounting process had just been concluded in Iraq’s central Babil province.

So far, manual recounts have been conducted in 16 of Iraq’s 18 provinces, including Babil, Najaf, Karbala, Anbar, Nineveh, Kirkuk, Sulaymaniyah, Erbil, Dohuk, Basra, Maysan, Wasit, Dhi Qar, Muthanna, Diwaniyah and Saladin.

Electoral officials have yet to finish recounting ballots in the provinces of Diyala and Baghdad.

It remains unclear, however, whether the vote recount will dramatically affect initial poll results.

For the last two months, results of Iraq’s hard-fought May 12 parliamentary poll have remained the subject of bitter dispute amid widespread allegations of voter fraud.

Once the manual recount is completed and Iraq’s Federal Court approves the results, incoming members of parliament will hold a first session to elect a new assembly speaker.

Within 30 days of the first parliamentary session, the assembly will elect -- by a two-thirds majority -- the country’s next president.

The president will then task the largest bloc in parliament with drawing up a new government, which must be referred back to parliament for approval.

Earlier this month, electoral officials began manually recounting the official election results.

According to those results, Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Sairoon coalition won 54 parliamentary seats, followed by a Hashd al-Shaabi-led coalition (47 seats) and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's Victory Bloc (42 seats).