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Iraq concludes manual recount of May parliamentary elections

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
An employee of Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission closes a ballot box at a polling station during the parliamentary elections in Baghdad, Iraq, on May 12, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

Iraq's election commission has concluded the manual recount of votes from the country’s parliamentary elections held in May, wrapping up a process following accusations of electoral fraud.

Iraq’s state television made the announcement on Monday, saying that the results were expected to be released in the coming days.

The recount was ordered by the Iraqi parliament in June and officially launched in early July after a government report concluded there had been serious violations in an initial count using electronic vote-counting systems.

There were also reports of polling stations where complaints of vote manipulation had been filed as per a ruling by the Federal Court.

The state broadcaster said the recount process had been cut short in the capital Baghdad last month, citing a fire that broke out in the warehouse where the votes had been stored.

The commission's leadership had been suspended after the incident and replaced with a panel of judges who oversaw the recount.

The Iraqi government had reported widespread violations in the elections, which saw a bloc led by Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr win. Another Shia bloc, emerging from volunteer forces that had battled the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group over the past three years, came second. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and his bloc came third.

The recount was overseen by local and international observers as well as representatives from the United Nations and foreign embassies, paving the way for the formation of a new parliament and a new government in Iraq as the Arab country struggles to emerge from years of fight against terrorists.

The winning parties are currently embroiled in negotiations over forming the next governing coalition.

The political uncertainty in Iraq has fueled tensions at a time when public impatience is growing over poor basic services, unemployment and the slow pace of rebuilding after the war with Takfiri terrorists, which cost tens of billions of dollars.

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