London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Sheikh Khalaf al-Alyan, chairman of the (Sunni) National Dialogue Council (NDC), has threatened to ignite civil war if matters do not return back to normal and they (the Sunnis) are not given their elections rights. He accused persons in the Higher Iraqi Elections Commission and in the (Shiite) Unified Iraqi Coalition that is led by Abdulaziz al-Hakim who is also leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution, of rigging the elections results and committing major violations. On his part, Dr. Hussein al-Hindawi, the Higher Elections Commission chairman, admitted that there were violations whose victims were the National Iraqi List that is led by Dr. Iyad Allawi.
Al-Alyan”s movement the NDC entered into an alliance with the People of Iraq Council that is led by Dr. Adnan al-Dulaymi and the Iraqi Islamic Party that is led by Hamid AbdalMuhsin and formed a broad Sunni coalition called Al-Tawafuq. He said, "We have informed the Commission of the violations that took place during the elections, especially in Baghdad. We also informed the US side, the United Nations, and the Arab League. Our stand is known: Either hold the elections again or change them to give us our rights."
Speaking by telephone to "Asharq al-Awsat" yesterday, he said, "We are not going to let things go in the coming stage and there must be a solution. Either we obtain our rights of participation in the Assembly, as we deserve, or withdraw. We will not allow the formation of a national assembly and will not remain spectators or oppositionists but rest assured that it will turn into civil war, may God save us from its end. All the Iraqi nationalists will be in a resistance front against these tendencies (he meant the Shiite Coalition)."
Al-Alyan added, "Our rights are known and we are convinced that the elections were rigged, especially in Baghdad where we had areas in the capital that were totally closed to us. We were excepting to exceed the Coalition by more than 300,000 votes. However, the result now is the Coalition exceeding us by 1 million votes and this is quite unreasonable. Our calculations were accurate and documented in the centers and from the first count. We do not accept any other result unless it tallies with the facts we know. We will not allow the formation of parliament or national government unless they give us back our rights, either by holding the elections again all over Iraq or in Baghdad. The important thing is to have our rights given back to us."
On the Elections Commissions” stands, Al-Alyan said the Commission is an administrative body carrying out its duty but there are two officials "who tampered with the results. There were entire boxes that were already full of election forms before the voters had arrived. The latter were not given the forms on the pretext that they had run out of them. There were also the armed militias at the doors of polling centers asking the voters which lists they were going to vote for. If they said we would vote for Al-Tawafuq or Allawi, then they were prevented from entering."
Al-Alyan confirmed that they have entered into an alliance with 35 Iraqi political movements that objected to the elections results and said about this front”s stand: "If the situation becomes proper for participation, then we will participate. But if we find that things are going to remain as they are and our participation in the Assembly not commensurate with our real obligations, then we will not participate and we will remain united in our stands today and in future."
On his part, Al-Hindawi admitted that there were violations in the elections process and said, "We cannot say that these elections were ideal." He pointed out that Allawi”s National Iraqi List was the one most affected. Speaking to "Asharq al-Awsat" by telephone from his office in Baghdad yesterday, he said, "More than 1,000 complaints have been lodged with the Commission from the political entities that talk about violations in the elections process. The complaints are different, some concern the elections process and others concern problems that occurred outside the voting site. We accept the complaints that are lodged legally, the ones presented during the first three days after the elections that were lodged properly, that is, through the special form that carries the signature of a witness. We are still receiving complaints to this day from some political entities and these we are ignoring."
Al-Hindawi pointed out that the Commission itself recorded a number of violations that the political entities did not record and said, "There are international standards. For example, the number of voters in every electoral district should not exceed 600 voters. There were polling centers where more than this number voted and we have to investigate the reasons for this increase. However, when the designated number is reached, since there is no 100 percent voting in any center, then we have suspicions about this center or discover errors in some boxes. Around 100 boxes are being investigated and reviewed. Not all these boxes are necessarily wrong. There were some boxes where the rigging happened beforehand and were full by 1100 hour. These were withdrawn from the center and will be cancelled." He added," There is not a prevailing phenomenon that can be called the rigging of elections."
Al-Hindawi went on to say, "The rigging that happened in elections boxes did not happen because of a particular political entity but because of the conduct of an employee who might be biased to one entity alone." He admitted that the "objecting entities have political weight in the country, especially as the Iraqi National List, which is an important entity in the country and the entities forming a coalition under its umbrella, has political weight, are known, and have lodged real objections. We and the United Nations are now investigating these objections and complaints. We had an important meeting yesterday (day before yesterday) with the UN representative on this." He pointed out that "no ambiguity mars the Commission”s stand" and added: I reiterate that the Iraqi National List was right in its complaints and we are taking an interest in them and dealing with them in a reasonable and transparent way.
Regarding Commission member Farid Ayyar”s retirement from it and whether this step was in reaction to the accusations against the Commission, Al-Hindawi said: "Ayyar raised the issue of his retirement some time ago. He knows that the Commission”s mandate will be renewed and that all of us will leave it because the Commission will become an establishment that everyone wants to control."
Defending the Commission”s members, he said, "I do not know the reasons for the attacks on some Commission members and the accusations against them are untrue." He expressed his belief that the results of some ballot boxes would be reviewed and corrected in light of this and would not show a large different percentage from the one announced and the results would appear very soon.