BAGHDAD - Iraqi politicians backed by the cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Saturday said they would lodge an official complaint about votes being excluded during last weekend's provincial elections.
Allies of Sadr said that preliminary results declared by election authorities were markedly different from estimates compiled by the party's observers during the hotly-contested vote.
"There is a big difference in some provinces between the figures we have, through our agents and observers, and those that were declared," said Amir al-Kinani, secretary general of the Free Independent Movement, backed by Sadr.
"We will submit the appeal in the results of a number of Baghdad areas and other provinces, including Najaf, Maysan, and Diwaniyah," he said.
The Free Independent Movement finished second in the capital Baghdad with nine percent of the vote, which left them 29 percent behind candidates backed by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
The Sadrist movement also finished second in the Shiite-dominated provinces of Maysan, Najaf and Dhi Qar, south of Baghdad.
Kanani, however, alleged that many ballot boxes had been excluded from the official vote count.
"I do not think the heads of entities or political blocs, especially the large one, sent people to do the fraud... this is impossible," he said.
"But some people's behaviour in specific centres led the electoral commission to exclude these centres, therefore leading to the loss of many votes," he added.
The State of Law Coalition backed by Premier Maliki swept last weekend's polls, according to official preliminary results released by Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission.
Final results are not due for several weeks.