A fire raged through Baghdad’s largest ballot storage site on Sunday, just days after the Iraqi parliament ordered a recount of May’s election results amid accusations of fraud. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called the fire “a plot to harm the nation and its democracy.” “We will take all necessary measures and strike with an iron fist all who undermine the security of the nation and its citizens,” Abadi said in a statement. The fire was confined to one of four warehouses in Baghdad’s al-Russafa district, where 60 percent of the capital’s 2 million eligible voters had cast their ballots. The Interior Ministry said no ballot boxes were destroyed in the fire, which engulfed a warehouse containing vote-counting machines and other election equipment.
Iraq’s Independent High Elections Commission had used electronic vote-counting devices for the first time in the May 12 election. Some of the allegations of fraud have centered on tests of electronic voting machines, which produced varied results.
… Outgoing parliamentary speaker Salim al-Jabouri, who lost his seat in the election and was one of the more outspoken proponents of the recount before the fire, called for fresh elections.
“The crime of burning ballot box storage warehouses in the Russafa area is a deliberate act, a planned crime, aimed at hiding instances of fraud and manipulation of votes, lying to the Iraqi people and changing their will and choices. We call for the election to be repeated,” he said.