ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The appointed judges for the Iraqi electoral commission left Kirkuk and arrived in Sulaimani Province on Sunday to begin the manual recount of election ballot boxes appealed by the political parties over suspicion of fraud and rigging, a Kurdish official said.
“The manual recount of votes in Sulaimani was supposed to start on Tuesday, but the appointed judges have already finished the process of recounting votes in Kirkuk, and today they arrived in Sulaimani,” Ahmed Namali, a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s (PUK) election committee, told Kurdistan 24.
“Tomorrow [Monday], the judges will start the manual recount of the appealed ballot boxes in Sulaimani,” Namali said.
Kurdish parties have appealed over 200 ballot boxes in the province of Sulaimani, accusing the PUK of committing fraud in the electoral process. The same accusations by Kurdish, Turkmen, and Arab parties in Kirkuk were directed at the PUK.
On Thursday, Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) completed a manual recount of votes in Kirkuk. There are conflicting reports about the results, but the commission is yet to announce the outcome.
Khalid Shwani, a PUK Leadership Council member in Kirkuk, told reporters in a press conference on Sunday that his party’s votes and seats have not changed. He threatened to sue all parties accusing the PUK of rigging ballots in the May 12 election.
Following Kirkuk and Sulaimani, the IHEC will begin a manual recount of votes in the provinces of Erbil and Duhok.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany