ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi Electoral Commission on Monday announced the completion of the nationwide partial manual recount of the May 12 parliamentary election but canceled part of the process due to complications with ballot boxes that were damaged in a fire two months earlier.
“The board of commissioners, composed of assigned judges, has completed the manual recount process for all voting stations and centers in which there were complaints or appeals in all of Iraq’s provinces and abroad,” Judge Laiyth Jabir Hamza, the spokesperson of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), said in a statement.
The IHEC, the overseer of the election, began conducting the manual recount on July 3 starting in Kirkuk.
The Commission, however, “decided to cancel the recount process for the al-Rusafa district after the ballot boxes [designated for recounting], its accessories, and the auditing equipment was damaged in a fire,” the IHEC spokesperson added.
Hamza was referring to the blaze that tore through a warehouse in the al-Rusafa district, located in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, where thousands of ballot boxes from the May 12 Iraqi parliamentary election were being held.
The incident came days after the Iraqi Parliament ordered a manual recount.
A week after the fire, during a tumultuous period, head of the election-winning coalition Sairoon, Muqtada al-Sadr, issued a warning against a potential civil war, stating Iraq was in danger.
On June 6, the Iraqi Parliament froze the work of the IHEC, assigning nine judges to run the commission to facilitate a manual recount of votes for the entire elections process, a decision which the Iraqi Higher Judicial Council and the Federal Supreme Court (FSC) ratified.
The IHEC’s newly-appointed judges, however, said they interpreted the FSC decision as a manual recount of ballots only from the stations that claims of fraud had been submitted.
Hamza said the Commission’s decision on the al-Rusafa ballots came “in accordance with the provisions of the Third Amendment of the laws of Iraqi parliamentary elections.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany