Electoral Bungle: Fire Consumes Baghdad Ballot Boxes Warehouse Before Recount

Iraq election: Fire hits Baghdad recount warehouse

"So stop fighting for seats, posts, gains, influence and power", Sadr said in an statement issued by his office, one day after a fire broke out at electoral commission's warehouses in Gailani neighborhood in downtown Baghdad, which contain ballot boxes of eastern side of Risafa in Baghdad and electronic counting devices.

The blaze was eventually brought under control, and confined to one of the four warehouses storing voting equipment, an interior ministry official told Reuters.

A storage site holding half of the ballot boxes from the capital caught fire on Sunday in what Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called a "plot to harm the nation and its democracy".

Numerous legislative election losers - including lawmakers and the outgoing PM Haider al-Abadi, whose coalition faltered in the polls by finishing in third place - are claiming foul play behind the fire the engulfed the warehouse. He said Baghdad will take all necessary measures, and pledged an iron fist policy against those who undermine the country's security.

However, an interior ministry spokesman Major General SaadMaansaid that the fire had destroyed some documents and equipment but first responders on the site were trying to prevent it from spreading to ballot boxes.The warehouse is one of four at the site and contained documents and electronic equipment.

Iraqi Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri, meanwhile, claimed the fire was a "planned crime aimed at hiding cases of manipulation and falsification of votes and deceiving the Iraqi people and changing their will and choice".

It comes just days after parliament ordered a national recount.

Officials say some ballot boxes could have been in a warehouse that burnt down but most were safe.

Iraq election: Fire hits Baghdad recount warehouse
Iraq ballot warehouse hit by blaze as country prepares for recount

A fire has torn through Iraq's largest ballot warehouse, ahead of a controversial recount prompted by allegations of fraud.

Abadi's government on Tuesday said an investigation found serious violations and blamed the elections commission for a lot of them.

The outgoing parliament's decision for recount of the votes also called for the Independent High Elections Commission's leadership to be replaced by nine judges.

Iraqi authorities said that none of the ballot papers were destroyed in the blaze.

The 12 May election threw up some surprises, with Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's anti-establishment coalition of secular groups and leftists coming in first place. Abadi's alliance finished third, with 42 seats.

Abadi, whose electoral alliance came third in the election, had said that a government investigation had found serious violations and blamed Iraq's independent elections commission for a lot of them. 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.

Opponents of the recount, mostly those whose blocs did well in the election, point out that many who voted for it were lawmakers who lost their seat.

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