Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Iraq election: Fire hits Baghdad recount warehouse

Before the parliament had acted, the electoral commission said it was voiding 1,021 ballot boxes from around the country, along with votes cast by Iraqis overseas and Iraqis still living in displacement camps that were set up during the battles against the Islamic State.

The ballot boxes are part of a manual recount of votes from an eastern Baghdad district.

A fire has torn through Iraq's largest ballot warehouse, ahead of a controversial recount prompted by allegations of fraud.

The cause of the fire is unknown, he said, and will be investigated once the blaze is contained by the nine teams of firefighters at the scene in the Rasafa district of Baghdad.

General Maan said that efforts were being made to stop the blaze from affecting ballot boxes in the three other sites. State television said the ballot boxes were being moved to another location under heavy security.

Juburi has similarly denounced alleged fraud in Amman, where he ran an intense campaign and only won a mere 19 votes.

The election was won by Sadr's electoral alliance with communists, with long-time political figures pushed out by Iraqi voters who were hoping for change.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, whose electoral alliance came third in the election, said on Tuesday that a government investigation had found serious violations and blamed Iraq's independent elections commission for majority. The Independent High Elections Commission had used electronic vote- counting devices to tally the results.

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The FCA defended the rule changes, saying the decision would encourage more firms to adopt the UK's governance standards. This package recognises that the previous regime did not always work for these companies or their investors".

Smoke rises from a storage site in Baghdad, housing ballot boxes from Iraq's May parliamentary election, Iraq June 10, 2018.

Meanwhile, following the incident at the storage site housing ballot boxes in Baghdad, Iraq's outgoing parliament speaker, Salim al-Jabouri, said later on Sunday that the country's parliamentary election should be repeated. Some parties condemned the measure, saying it was spearheaded by groups of lawmakers who had lost their seats.

However, an interior ministry spokesman said the fire had destroyed some documents and equipment but first responders on the site were trying to prevent it from spreading to ballot boxes.

More than 170 MPs voted in an emergency parliamentary session on Wednesday to amend the law, which will also nullify votes cast overseas and from displacement camps in four Sunni-majority provinces. Only one - housing electronic equipment and documents - had burned down, he said.

On Wednesday, Iraq's parliament ordered a manual recount at all polling stations.

Earlier on Sunday the Supreme Judicial Council, Iraq's highest judicial authority, named judges tasked with taking over the country's elections commission after allegations of widespread electoral violations in the May election.

The recount was approved by parliament a day after Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said there had been serious violations and that most of the blame laid with the elections commission.

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