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Iraq says national election recount completed: State TV

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BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq’s election commission has completed a manual recount of votes from a parliamentary election held in May after the process was cut short in Baghdad, state television said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Employees of the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission check ballot boxes at a warehouse in Baghdad, Iraq May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Khalid Al-Mousily/File Photo

The recount was ordered by parliament in June after a government report concluded there were serious violations in an initial count using an electronic vote-counting system.

However, a fire that broke out in the warehouse where the votes were stored had made a complete recount impossible, leading the electoral commission to cancel it the remaining half of the capital, the state broadcaster said.

The commission’s leadership had been suspended and replaced with a panel of judges who oversaw the recount. It is expected to announce its results in the coming days.

The winning parties are currently embroiled in negotiations over forming the next governing coalition. Influential cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s bloc came first in the election, followed by a group of -backed Shi’ite militia leaders, with incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s bloc in third place.

The political uncertainty has fueled tensions at a time when public impatience is growing over poor basic services, unemployment and the slow pace of rebuilding after a three-year war with Islamic State which cost tens of billions of dollars.

Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; editing by John Stonestreet and Angus MacSwan