Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Newsday: Final results from Iraq's landmark referendum on a new constitution will likely not be announced until Friday at the earliest because of delays getting counts to the capital and a wide-ranging audit of an unexpectedly high number of "yes" votes, election officials said. The returns have raised questions over the possibility of irregularities in the balloting. With the delays, the outcome of the crucial referendum will remain up in the air possibly into next week, at a time when the government had hoped to move public attention to a new milestone: the start of the trial of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein on Wednesday.

Reuters via Moscow Times: Iraq Rejects Suggestions of Referendum Fraud. Iraqi officials checking results from some regions from Saturday's constitutional referendum said on Tuesday that the audit did not imply fraud in the voting. Iraq's electoral commission said on Monday that it would follow international practice by examining "unusually high" results from provinces which recorded margins of 90 percent or more in favor or against the new draft constitution. The statement fueled debate over the bitterly fought referendum, with some Sunni Arab leaders suggesting the Shiite- and Kurdish-led government had fiddled with numbers to ensure passage of the U.S.-backed charter.