Monday, 15 October, 2018

Fire breaks out at May 12 election ballot box warehouse in Baghdad

Smoke rises from a storage site in Baghdad housing ballot boxes from Iraq's May parliamentary election Smoke rises from a storage site in Baghdad housing ballot boxes from Iraq's May parliamentary election
Steven Clarke | 11 June, 2018, 07:49

On Wednesday Iraq's parliament ordered a manual recount at all polling stations - although no timetable has been announced - and sacked the commission which oversaw the polls.

It comes amid mounting fraud allegations surrounding the 12 May elections, when Sadr was announced the surprise victor of the vote.

Last month's legislative elections were won by an alliance headed by the populist Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr.

The senior security official, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said the fire broke out in a warehouse located in Al-Russafa, one of the largest voting districts in eastern Baghdad.

Interior Minister Qasim al-Araji later told a local television channel that "not a single box was burned". One of Sadr's top aides expressed concern that some parties were trying to sabotage the cleric's victory.

Salim al-Jubouri, the outgoing speaker of parliament, who lost his seat in the election, called for an entire redo of the vote because of the fire.

But it is unclear whether the recount would affect the outcome of the election. Sadr's bloc boycotted the parliamentary session in which the vote took place.

Petrol And Diesel Prices Slashed For Tenth Consecutive Day
The reductions come on the back of softening of worldwide oil rates and the rupee gaining against the U.S. dollar. In Mumbai , the petrol price on June 8 (Today) is Rs 85.24 per litre and diesel Rs 73.02 a litre.

But he has more recently positioned himself as an Iraqi nationalist, critical of both Iranian and American influence and sectarian conflicts in Iraq, and forming diverse alliances with communists, Sunnis and independents. Earlier on Sunday, the Supreme Judicial Council, Iraq's highest judicial authority, named the judges who will take over replace the commissioners.

"Election material, including maybe ballot boxes, were burned but most of the ballot boxes were stored in another building and have been preserved", interior ministry spokesperson General Saad Maan said.

Two hours after the blaze erupted firefighters backed by 10 trucks were still struggling to put out the fire, an AFP reporter said.

Parliament on Wednesday passed a law that mandated a nationwide manual recount of votes from the election.

Iraq's prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, whose ticket had placed third in the May 12 election, approved the move for the recount by the lawmakers saying the election commission was to blame for what he described as widespread irregularities.

"There are some papers and equipment of the commision burning in the storehouse that has caught fire", Maan said, according to Rudaw.

"The commission today is targeted from all sides. we call on all constitutional institutions in the country and the leaders of all political blocs to do their historic duty and preserve the results of the electoral process", he said.

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