Baghdad (Iraqinews.com) – Iraqi firefighters have controlled 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.
Major General Kazem Bouhan, the director of the Interior Ministry’s Civil Defense Directorate, said “a blaze that broke out at a depot, where ballots from parliamentary elections were being stored, has been successfully controlled.”
Speaking to Iraqi website Baghdad Today, Bouhan expected the fire to be completely extinguished within a few hours.
Today’s fire comes 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.
Earlier in the day, Spokesman for the Iraqi Interior Ministry Saad Maan said a fire had engulfed a depot used for storing electronic voting machines and some ballot papers.
“The cause of the fire is still unknown,” he said, adding that a probe will be launched once the blaze is contained by firefighters at the scene in the Rasafa district of Baghdad.
According to the Iraqi election commission, A parliamentary coalition for Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr won 54 parliamentary seats in the May 12 parliamentary polls, followed by a Hashd al-Shaabi-linked coalition (47 seats) and Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi’s Victory bloc (42 seats).