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International monitoring group to review Iraqi election results

[JURIST] The Canadian-based International Mission for Iraqi Elections [official website; press release] established in 2004 to advise and consult on the Iraqi electoral process agreed Thursday to review the results of Iraq's December 15 parliamentary elections [JURIST news archive] in the wake of large-scale protests in Iraq over against alleged fraud [JURIST report] in the poll. The IMIE investigation will encompass post-election complaints, political entity participation, and post-election audits. In an interim report [IMIE text] presented earlier this month the group concluded that "while there is some concern over technical and procedural issues highlighted by the assessment reports, the election in Iraq has generally met international standards." The decision to conduct a further review was praised by Sunni Arabs and secular Shiite groups, who had previously called for an international review of the vote [JURIST report]. Although about 1,500 complaints about the elections were received, the overall result is not expected to change. Preliminary poll results [IECI text, PDF] show the governing Shiite religious bloc, the United Iraqi Alliance [BBC profile], has a significant lead, but final results are not expected until January. The UN, although previously unwilling to conduct a review itself, welcomed the announcement of the IMIE initiative, with Secretary-General Kofi Annan issuing a statement [text] saying "It is critical that those Iraqi groups who have complained about the conduct of the election are given a hearing...This team of assessors, which was not involved in the conduct of the elections, offers an independent evaluation of these complaints." AP has more.

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