Iraq's Sunni leaders reject poll as flawed and unjust

AS THE tight security surrounding Sunday's Iraqi elections began to wind down yesterday, leading Sunni clerics condemned the poll as illegitimate and said the new Iraqi National Assembly would lack any mandate to draw up a new constitution for the country.

In its first statement since the vote, the Association of Muslim Clerics said the election had little credibility "because a large portion of those people who represent many spectra have boycotted it". The association had previously urged Sunnis not to vote, but analysis of the turnout suggests a late dash to the polls in Sunni areas.

In many Sunni towns, the vote appears to have been marked as much by confusion as intimidation. Community leaders say a surge of interest in the elections brought larger-than-expected numbers to the polls but many were prevented from casting a vote by a shortage of polling stations, lack of ballot papers and concerns over security.

Iraqi election officials have acknowledged ballot shortages in Baghdad, Mosul and Basra, contributing to the low Sunni turnout. No official figure for Sunni turnout has yet been given, but the total seems certain to be less than 50 per cent.

Mishan Jabouri, leader of the Sunni-dominated Homeland Party, said he had pleaded with US embassy officials and the election commission to prepare for a last-minute surge of interest in Sunni Arab strongholds. "I said, `please try to open an election centre in Ramadi. Please, there are not enough ballots in Hawija, not enough in Beiji, not enough in Mosul'."

In one complaint filed by an official of the Homeland Party in Hawija, a violent Sunni Arab stronghold south-west of Kirkuk, voters complained ballots ran out at 11.30am and extra ballots did not arrive until 3.30pm, 90 minutes before the close of voting. Party officials say 8,000 too few ballots were delivered.

"The election commission did not distribute ballots according to needs of each centre, especially in Arab areas," wrote Mustafa Ahmed al-Tamawi, a party official in Kirkuk.

Many Sunnis appear to have been torn between outright suspicion of the election process and a desire to influence the new National Assembly.

Maisem Khalil Yacoub and her husband, Sabah al-Tayee, tried to vote in the Adhamiya neighbourhood of Baghdad, where gunfire and explosions marked the day. But after walking fruitlessly from one closed election centre to another for three hours in the Sunni area they went home without voting.

"There has been an injustice," said Ms Yacoub, a 35-year-old cemetery worker.

More than two million Kurds in northern Iraq took part in the poll and Kurdish leaders claimed that self-rule is now inevitable if not imminent. An informal referendum conducted by volunteers in parallel with the election found 95 per cent of Kurds supported independence from Baghdad. Iraqi Kurds have long pushed for independence, but Turkey, Iran and Syria - all with substantial Kurdish minorities - oppose the establishment of Kurdish state on their borders. The organisers surveyed Kurds as they emerged from polling stations across northern Iraq. The results have not been independently verified.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Application Support Engineer with SQL skills

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

Opilio Recruitment: Product Owner

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We are currently recruit...

Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, PHP, HTML, JavaScript, CSS

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, HTML...

Recruitment Genius: Business Support Administrator - Part Time

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the South West'...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas