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Iraqi court rejects Iran-backed parties' appeal against election vote

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By Reuters
Iraqi court rejects appeal by Iran-backed parties against vote
Iraqi court rejects appeal by Iran-backed parties against vote   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021

BAGHDAD -Iraq’s Supreme Court on Monday rejected appeals lodged by Iran-backed Shi’ite factions against the results of a parliamentary election, the chief judge said, derailing their attempt to overturn the vote in which they performed poorly.

The Iran-backed factions, including powerful armed groups, had alleged irregularities in the Oct. 10 ballot.

The biggest winner in the electio was the movement led by Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, an opponent of both Iranian and U.S. influence in Iraq, which won 73 seats, more than any other group in the fragmented 329-seat house.

The pro-Iran groups won 14 seats, compared to 48 in 2018.

Reading Monday’s ruling, Chief judge Jassim Mohammed said that objections to the result, regardless of their basis, were undermining the value of the vote, weakening voters’ confidence, and derailing the political process. The ruling was final and binding on all authorities, he said.

Once the result is confirmed by the Supreme Court, negotiations are expected among Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish groups over the formation of a new government to replace the outgoing cabinet of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

Shi’ite groups have dominated Iraqi politics since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003 that toppled Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein.

Sadr has said he will ally himself with whoever puts Iraq’s national interests, such as providing services for the population, first. That is an indication, Iraqi officials and Western diplomats say, that he may exclude some Iran-backed groups in favour of Kurdish and Sunni parties.

Iran is intervening in Iraq https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/iran-seeks-cool-tensions-iraq-2021-12-22 to quell destabilising internal unrest stirred up by Iranian-backed militias, Reuters reported last week. The actions come as Tehran seeks to preserve its deep influence in the country while also navigating tense negotiations over its nuclear ambitions with the United States.