Iraq’s Supreme Court on Monday rejected appeals lodged by Iran-backed Shiite factions against the results of a parliamentary election, the chief judge said, derailing their attempt to overturn the vote in which they performed poorly.

The Iran-backed factions, including powerful armed groups, had alleged irregularities in the Oct. 10 ballot.

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The ratification, following a delay of more than two months, clears the way for a new parliament to hold its inaugural session within two weeks, under Iraqi law.

“The Federal Supreme Court has ratified the results of the legislative elections,” its media officer announced in a brief statement.

On Monday the court rejected a motion filed by the Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) militia alliance (Hashed al-Shaabi) contesting its defeat in the parliamentary election.

“The Federal Court has decided to reject the complaint… and to make the plaintiffs bear the costs,” Judge Jassem Mohamed Aboud said, reading out the verdict.

The court “rejects the request of the plaintiffs… not to ratify the final results of the election,” he said. “The verdict is binding on all authorities.”

Reading Monday’s ruling, Chief judge Jassim Mohammed said that objections to the result, regardless of their basis, were undermining the value of the vote, weakening voters’ confidence, and derailing the political process. The ruling was final and binding on all authorities, he said.

In multi-confessional and multi-ethnic Iraq, the formation of governments has involved complex negotiations ever since the 2003 US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein.
Shiite firebrand cleric Moqtada Sadr was declared on November 30 as the biggest winner of the election.

Sadr’s movement won nearly a fifth of the seats — 73 out of the assembly’s total 329, well ahead of the 17 seats of the Fatah (Conquest) Alliance, the political arm of the pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Unit.

Popular Mobilization Unit leaders rejected the result — sharply down from their 48 seats in the outgoing assembly — as a “fraud.”

The PMU organized protests and appealed the results hoping to have them annulled, claiming “serious violations.”

The Fatah Alliance alleged the electronic voting system had failed to recognize the fingerprint identification of many voters.

It also protested at what is claimed were the alleged failings of a new electronic machine used for the election.

Shiite groups have dominated Iraqi politics since the US-led invasion of 2003 that toppled Saddam Hussein.

Sadr has said he will ally himself with whoever puts Iraq’s national interests, such as providing services for the population, first. That is an indication, Iraqi officials and Western diplomats say, that he may exclude some Iran-backed groups in favor of Kurdish and Sunni parties.

Once parliament holds its inaugural session, lawmakers will elect a president, who will, in turn, appoint a prime minister to be approved by the legislature.

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