ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) began a manual recount of ballots from the contested May 12 national election in the provinces of Duhok and Nineveh on Saturday morning.
“The vote recount in Duhok takes place in the hall of the College of Agriculture at Duhok University. In addition to the ballots of the people of Duhok, the ballots of Nineveh’s displaced people are also stored there,” the commission told Kurdistan 24 Correspondent Masoud Mohammed.
Regarding the manual vote recount in Nineveh, the commission stated that the process had commenced in building complexes known as “Presidential Palaces.”
The recount is done under the supervision of judges appointed by the Federal Supreme Court of Iraq after the Supreme Court had approved a resolution by the Iraqi Parliament that ordered it after widespread allegations of voter fraud. Only ballot boxes about which complaints of tampering had been formally lodged are being recounted.
There are 112 ballot boxes being processed in Duhok, but the number in Nineveh was not specified. There are an additional 197 boxes filled with ballots cast by those from Nineveh and living in displacement camps in Dohuk that require a decision by judges to begin processing, since they were initially voided and never counted.
Over the past week, hundreds of ballot boxes have been recounted in the provinces of Kirkuk, Sulaimani, and Erbil. The commission has yet to announce its results.
The United Nations on Tuesday described the manual vote recount process so far as “transparent” after Kurdish parties’ calls the previous day for a complete recount of all votes in the country.
Despite the final count being unknown, Iraqi parties continue to negotiate over the formation of the new government in talks that are expected to take months.
Kurdish member of the Baghdad Parliament Masoud Haider previously told Kurdistan 24 that the new Iraqi government could be formed at the beginning of next year, but could take longer. He also said that Iraq might face “civil war” if the manual vote recount leads to a substantial change in parties’ seats, compared to the results announced earlier in May.