Iraq: Manual recount of parliamentary election votes to start Tuesday in Kirkuk

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 ( – The Iraqi elections commission said on Saturday that the manual recount of May 12 parliamentary election votes will start Tuesday in Kirkuk province.

Judge Laith Hamza, a spokesman for Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission, said that the recount would begin in the province of Kirkuk before it extends to six more provinces, namely Sulaimaniya, Erbil, Dohuk, Nineveh, Salahuddin and Anbar.

Representatives of the United Nations, political parties, local and international observers and agents of parliamentary candidates will be allowed to attend the manual recount of votes, he noted.

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.

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