Iraq foils plot to set fire to ballot boxes ahead of manual vote recount

Security forces carry ballot boxes as smoke rises from a storage site in Baghdad, housing the boxes from Iraq’s May parliamentary election, Iraq June 10, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

Baghdad ( – Iraqi police thwarted on Tuesday a plot to set fire to ballot boxes placed at the Trade Ministry warehouses for manual recount following reports of vote-rigging in the May 12 parliamentary elections, the first in the country since the defeat of Islamic State last year.

A security source told Sky Press that “the warehouse guards, in cooperation with a police force, arrested a number of suspects who were planning to burn ballot boxes that were not affected by the June 10 fire.”

According to the source, the suspects were arrested with incendiary materials in their possession.

Earlier this month, the Iraqi Interior Ministry formed an investigative panel to probe the cause of a fire that engulfed a ballot storage facility in Baghdad, damaging nearly half of ballot boxes from Iraq’s parliamentary elections held on May 12.

“The panel was ordered to find out circumstances of the blaze that broke out at a depot used for storing electronic voting machines and ballot papers in the Rasafa district of Baghdad,” Iraqi website Alghad Press quoted a well-informed source as saying without giving further details.

Iraqi firefighters contained on Sunday, June 10, a huge fire that engulfed an election ballot warehouse in the Rasafa district of Baghdad, a move that represents a further setback for the already-mired electoral process in the country.

The fire came at a critical time as a full manual recount of votes was due to take place soon following allegations of electoral fraud in the parliamentary elections, besides other violations.

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