Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court is the only entity that has the right to decide if a parliamentary election held in May needs to be re-run, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s spokesman said on Monday.

Haider al-Abadi

“This is a matter for the Federal Court and not for the executive branch or any other entity,” said Saad al-Hadithi when asked if the prime minister had a comment on the speaker of parliament’s call for another election.

Parliament had mandated a manual recount of the election after a number of political parties alleged fraud. A storage site holding half of the ballot boxes from the capital caught fire on Sunday.

Earlier, Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called on Iraqis to unite instead of burning ballot boxes and seeking to repeat an election held on May 12 that his bloc won.

“Stop fighting for seats, posts, gains, influence, power, and rulership,” he wrote in an article published by his office, a day after a storage site housing half of Baghdad’s ballot boxes from the election caught fire.

Sadr, a longtime adversary of the U. S. who also opposes Iran’s vast influence in Iraq, scored a surprise victory in the election.

“Is it not time to stand as one for building and reconstruction instead of burning ballet boxes or repeating elections just for one seat or two?,” Sadr wrote.

“Is it not time to disarm and hand over weapons to the state instead of storing it in mosques so that it explodes and kills the innocent?”

The election was the first since the defeat of Islamic State raised hopes that Iraqis could put aside their communal and sectarian divisions and reconstruct the country.

Parliament has mandated a full manual recount.

The Independent High Elections Commission had used electronic vote- counting devices to tally the results.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi described the fire as a “plot” aimed at Iraq’s democracy.

Abadi, whose electoral alliance came third in the election, had said that a government investigation had found serious violations and blamed Iraq’s independent elections commission for most of them.

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