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Iraqi highest court rejects appeal challenging election results

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Iraqi highest court dismissed appeal filed by Iranian-backed factions challenging the results of parliamentary elections held in October

The appeal was submitted by Hadi al-Ameri, leader of a pro-Iranian coalition that lost seats in the October 10 vote.

The Federal Supreme Court had not ratified the election results, pending an appeal filed earlier this month by al-Ameri, who heads the Fatah coalition. Monday’s verdict read by Judge Jassim Mohammed dismissing the trial is final and cannot be appealed. The lawsuit cited alleged technical and legal violations.

Earlier Monday, hundreds of protesters closed the entrances to Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, ahead of the court ruling. Military forces have spread throughout the region and set up checkpoints in the city. The Green Zone hosts most foreign diplomatic missions, including the United States Embassy.

No cases of violence or clashes were immediately reported.

After the vote, supporters of Iranian-aligned militias pitched tents near the Green Zone during an ongoing sit-in, rejecting the election results and threatening to commit acts of violence.

The United States, the UN Security Council and others have praised the October 10 elections, which were conducted for the most part without violence and without major technical glitches.

But unsubstantiated allegations of electoral fraud cast a shadow over the vote. The standoff with militia supporters has also heightened tensions between rival Shiite factions which may reflect in the streets and threaten Iraq’s regained relative stability.

The election came months ahead of schedule in response to mass protests in late 2019, which saw tens of thousands in Baghdad and the predominantly Shiite southern provinces rally against rampant corruption, mediocrity services and unemployment. They also protested against neighboring Iran’s brutal interference in Iraqi affairs through Iranian-backed militias.

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