Fire destroyed an election office in Iraq - but the ballots were alledgedly saved
A warehouse where deposited ballot papers have been stored has burned in Iraq. The parliament chairman now demands that the entire election be redone - but according to the Interior Minister, the ballots escaped the fire.
The Iraqi Parliament decided earlier this week that all votes in the Iraqi elections on May 12 should be re-counted According to the decision, the counting of the ballots - almost eleven million votes throughout the country - should be done by hand.
The decision is based on accusations of electoral fraud.
The fire hit a warehouse in Rusafa in eastern Baghdad, where ballots yet not counted were stored. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi describes the fire as an act of arson as a plot against Iraq's democracy with the purpose of damaging the nation.
In a statement, he says that all necessary measures will be taken, and that an investigation will be conducted on what lies behind the fire.
According to the Interior Minister Qasim al-Araji, "not a single box" of ballots has burned. A spokesman said earlier that the fire broke out in one of four warehouses on site. State television reported how firemen moved away from the fire to another place under strong surveillance.
Parliament's charman Salim Al-Jabouri, who lost his mandate in the May election, said earlier that he now wants the entire election to be disqualified and another entirely new election be arranged in Iraq.
"The crime of burning a warehouse with ballot papers in the Rusafa area was a deliberate act, a planned crime designed to conceal fraud, falsehood and lies for the Iraqi people and to change their choices and wishes", he said.
In the election, Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadrs party took home the victory. After the election, the results were questioned, among other areas, in the controversial oil town of Kirkuk.