Iraq to begin manual recount of votes on Tuesday
Iran Press TV
Sat Jun 30, 2018 02:06PM
Iraqi authorities have announced that they will begin the manual recount of ballots in recent general elections on July 3.
A spokesman for the Independent High Electoral Commission said in a statement on Saturday that the recount, which will only affect problematic ballots flagged in official reports or other complaints, will begin on Tuesday.
The statement said the recount would begin in the province of Kirkuk before it extends to six more provinces, namely Sulaimaniya, Erbil, Dohuk, Nineveh, Salaheddin and Anbar.
The recount will come against the backdrop of fraud allegations in the May general elections, in which blocs led by senior Shia politicians emerged victorious.
Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered the creation of a high-powered commission to look into complaints of irregularities by political parties and lawmakers.
Under a law passed earlier this month, the parliament mandated a nationwide manual recount of votes. However, a panel of judges tasked with the recount said a full process would not be possible. It said the elections commission would only manually recount problematic ballots "out of respect for the will of voters and their rights ... and to preserve their vote which came without any violation."
The recount will take place in the presence of the United Nations representatives, the panel said, adding that ballot boxes from areas with fraud allegations will be moved to the capital Baghdad.
The law on recount came after a storage site housing ballot boxes in Baghdad caught fire. The fire broke out in a warehouse located in Rusafah, one of the largest voting districts in eastern Baghdad.
The outgoing parliament speaker, Salim al-Jabouri, who failed to retain his seat in the elections, said on June 28 that the parliament's term would end on Saturday unless lawmakers voted to extend it.
Senior members of the parliament, however, rejected the idea of an extended term, which could have enabled the legislature to function until after the recount is complete.
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