Iraq starts manual vote recount

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Iraqi election commission has started to manually recount about 2.5 million ballots cast in the capital Baghdad during parliamentary elections two months ago.

Counting could take from two to three weeks, according to officials. An official for the Independent High Electroral Commission, Qassim al-Abbudi, said that "[w]e will count 600 boxes today".

The recount was requested by incumbent Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is accusing the opposition of fraud, when provisional results gave the bloc led by rival Iyad Allawi a two-seat lead. al-Maliki's election coalition, however, now says the recount should be stopped, saying the election commission isn't using the correct procedures and will have an incorrect result.

The Iraqi parliamentary poll, held on March 7, resulted in the Iraqiya bloc receiving 91 seats, while the incumbent PM's State of Law coalition taking 89 seats; in order to form a government, a block must obtain 163 parliament seats.