ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The fire at the ballot box warehouse in Baghdad was an intentional plot meant to target Iraq’s democracy, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in response to the incident on Sunday.
A fire broke out earlier in the day at a warehouse in the al-Rusafa district of the Iraqi capital Baghdad which stored the May 12 Iraqi parliamentary election ballot boxes.
Officials from the Iraqi Interior Ministry and the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) said the blaze damaged ballot boxes at the warehouse.
Abadi’s office issued a statement following the blaze, vowing to pursue the “terrorist gangs” that try to tamper with the security situation of the country and the elections.
According to the statement, the Iraqi Prime Minister directed all governorates’ operations commands to tighten security measures and increase personnel at electoral commission warehouses across the country.
Abadi noted that investigations are underway to find out the circumstances which led to the incident.
“The burning of electoral warehouses and election results which coincides with the Mosul occupation by [Islamic State extremists] is a plan meant to target the country and its democratic approach,” the statement read.
Abadi also warned those responsible for the fire that his government would “take all necessary measures and strike with an iron fist anyone who wishes to undermine the security of the country and its people.”
The incident occurs in the aftermath of widespread allegations of electoral fraud and violations during the May 12 vote and after the Iraqi Parliament passed a law on Wednesday mandating the manual recount of ballots across the country.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany