Iraqi PM Abadi rejects election rerun amid fraud allegations

Lester Mason
June 13, 2018

"Allegations of fraud leading to parliament's vote for a countrywide manual recount has thrown the transparency of this election into doubt", Stratford said.

A fire broke out in the largest storage space of ballot boxes in Baghdad, sources from the Iraqi Ministry of Internal Affairs said.

A fire has been brought under control at Iraq's biggest ballot paper storage depot days after an election recount was ordered.

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi described the fire as a "plot" aimed at undermining Iraq's democracy.

Sadr aide Dhiaa al-Asadi described the fire as a plot created to force a repeat of the election and hide fraud. "We will take all necessary measures and strike with an iron fist all who undermine the security of the nation and its citizens", said Abadi late on Sunday.

Interior ministry spokesman General Saad Maan visited the scene and told reporters that "most of the ballot boxes were stored in another building and have been preserved".

"The ballot boxes were stored in another room", he said, adding that the fire would not affect the recount.

The alliance of populist Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who has a very strained relationship with the United States, scored a surprise victory in Iraq's elections.

The fire erupted as nine judges were appointed to supervise a manual vote recount ordered by Iraq's outgoing parliament.

Officials have suggested that most of the ballot boxes were saved from the fire, though the true extent of the damage remains to be seen.

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.

Earlier on Monday, al-Sadr called on Iraqi political groups to abstain from fighting for power.

His victory came on the back of an election campaign of opposing foreign interference in Iraq, as well as promising to rebuild schools and hospitals - which were heavily damaged in the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, known as ISIS) group previous year.

The June 11 report said the suspects included three police officers and an employee of Iraq's elections commission. Abadi's coalition finished third in the polls, behind shock victor Muqtada al-Sadr, a Shiite cleric who once referred to the "the great serpent".

"Is it not time to stand as one for building and reconstruction instead of burning ballet boxes or repeating elections just for one seat or two?", Sadr wrote. However, it has added to fears that disputes over the elections' result could turn violent, prompting Sadr on Monday to warn about breaking out of a possible "civil war" in the crisis-hit country if growing disputes over the vote are not settled. Such a case is the current Speaker of Parliament, Salim al-Jabouri, who lost his seat in parliament and urged new elections.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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