Members of Iraq’s outgoing parliament voted in favour of manually recounting all votes cast in the election following the May elections due to allegations of voter fraud.

Iraqi Sha cleric Moqtada al Sadr (L) looks at Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi during a news conference in Najaf, Iraq June 23, 2018.
Iraqi Sha cleric Moqtada al Sadr (L) looks at Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi during a news conference in Najaf, Iraq June 23, 2018. (Reuters)

Iraq's Supreme Court has ratified the results of the May 12 parliamentary election, its spokesman said on Sunday, setting in motion a 90-day constitutional deadline for the winning parties to form a government.

"The court has issued a decision to ratify the results of the parliamentary election," spokesman Iyas al Samouk said in a statement.

The ratification makes the results formal and lawmakers now have to gather and elect a speaker, then president and finally a prime minister and cabinet within 90 days.

A nationwide recount of votes showed on August 10 that populist Shia cleric Moqtada al Sadr's party retained the lead, positioning him to play a central role in forming the country's next government. 

Moqtada al Sadr's Sairoon coalition dominated the polls capturing more parliamentary seats than any other party or alliance, winning 54 parliamentary seats, according to official results. Sairoon was followed by a Hashd al Shaabi-led coalition (47 seats) and Prime Minister Haider al Abadi's Victory Bloc (42 seats).

The recount showed little had changed from the initial results.

Chief Justice Medhat al Mahmoud, speaks to journalist in the Supreme Court building in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, June 21, 2018 after Iraq's Supreme Court endorsed a manual recount of all ballots from the national elections in May
Chief Justice Medhat al Mahmoud, speaks to journalist in the Supreme Court building in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, June 21, 2018 after Iraq's Supreme Court endorsed a manual recount of all ballots from the national elections in May (AP)

For more than two months, the results of Iraq’s hard-fought parliamentary polls have remained the subject of a bitter dispute amid widespread allegations of voter fraud.

Parliament in June ordered a nationwide manual recount of the results, which were tallied electronically, after a government report said there were widespread violations and blamed the electoral commission.

Iraq's Supreme Court endorsed a manual recount of all ballots from the national elections, but rejected the invalidation of ballots from abroad and from voters displaced by recent conflict.

A warehouse storing ballots from eastern Baghdad was burned down days after the parliament filed the legislation. No suspects have been named in the apparent arson, and authorities have not given an estimate as to how many ballots were destroyed in the fire.

Smoke rises from a fire that broke out at Baghdad's largest ballot box storage site, where ballots from Iraq's May parliamentary elections are stored, in Baghdad, Iraq.
Smoke rises from a fire that broke out at Baghdad's largest ballot box storage site, where ballots from Iraq's May parliamentary elections are stored, in Baghdad, Iraq. (Reuters)

Invalidation of ballots from abroad rejected

The court rejected the mass invalidation of the expatriate and displaced persons vote, and the armed services vote in the country's Kurdish governorates. Chief Justice Medhat al Mahmoud said the sweeping measure was unjust to voters whose ballots were shown to be legitimate.

Iraqis displaced population, mostly driven from their homes during battles against Daesh and international groups urged authorities to take measures to ensure they could vote. The perception that Sunni-majority northern Iraq was being marginalised by the Shia-dominated government in Bagdad was seen as a key to fueling Daesh's insurgency earlier this decade.