Published: Wed, June 13, 2018

Iraqi PM Abadi condemns arson at election warehouse

Iraqi PM Abadi condemns arson at election warehouse

The Iraqi police on Monday arrested four suspects over involvement is setting fire at warehouses in Baghdad storing ballot boxes of May 12 parliamentary elections, the Iraqi judiciary said.

Ahead of Sunday's fire, the recount was not expected to significantly alter the final results of the elections but did promise to further delay the lengthy coalition-building process that is required to form a new government. He said Baghdad will take all necessary measures, and pledged an iron fist policy against those who undermine the country's security.

Experts would conduct an investigation and prepare a detailed report on how the fire started, he said. Gen. Saad Maan said.

The depot housed ballot boxes from the city's al-Rusafa district.

"Civil defense forces are on the way but I can tell you all the boxes and papers have burned".

Mr Al Abadi's statement comes as Iraq's United Nations envoy has called for an investigation into allegations of fraud and voter rigging.

According to Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford, determining the legitimate outcome of the election is now even more challenging.

Last week, parliament passed a law for a recount of 11 million votes, following allegations of fraud during the May 12 elections.

"They are burning the votes of the Iraqi people".

The Baghdad Operations Command also made a statement, saying the ballot boxes were completely burnt.

Iraq election: Fire hits Baghdad recount warehouse

The recount was ordered by parliament on Wednesday at all polling stations, although no timetable has been announced.

Intelligence services say that tests of electronic voting machines produced varied results, implying the tools may be unreliable.

In a shock result, the Sairoon coalition of Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr came first in last month's vote, winning 54 out of 328 seats.

Al-Sadr himself can not be named prime minister because he didn't run in the elections.

Iraq's parliament speaker, Salim al-Jabouri, has since called for an election rerun in the wake of the fire.

Jabouri narrowly lost his seat in May and had been one of the strongest proponents of a recount before the fire. Sadr's bloc boycotted the parliamentary session in which the vote took place.

Less than half of Iraq's 24-million electorate took part, dumping the old guard in favor of Sadr's alliance followed by a list of former fighters of the Hashed al-Shaabi alliance that a year ago played a key role in the defeat of the Daesh terror group. Baghdad is Iraq's most populous province, accounting for 71 seats out of the Iraqi parliament's 329.

Firefighters spent hours bringing the blaze in a warehouse in the capital's Al-Russafa neighbourhood under control. The Supreme Judicial Council-the highest legal authority in the country-has already named those who will replace the nine-member board.

The electoral commission said it would appeal the decision.

A 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.

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