Baghdad — A Baghdad storage site housing ballot boxes from Iraq’s May parliamentary election has caught fire and first responders are attempting to control it, a local official and the interior ministry said on Sunday.
The ballot boxes are part of a manual recount of votes from the May election, mandated in a law passed by the Iraqi parliament on Wednesday.
"The storage spaces housing all the ballot boxes from al-Rusafa belonging to the election commission are now on fire," said Baghdad province council member Mohamed al-Rabeei.
"Civil defence forces are on the way, but I can tell you all the boxes and papers have burned."
Rusafa is a district of Baghdad on the eastern side of the river Tigris. An interior ministry spokesman said the fire had destroyed some documents and equipment but civil defence forces were trying to prevent it from spreading to ballot boxes.
The site was divided into four warehouses, said Maj-Gen Saad Maan, and only one — housing electronic equipment and documents — had burned down. Firefighters were trying to stop the fire from spreading to the remaining three warehouses, where the ballot boxes are located, he said.
"It is possible there were also some ballot boxes in the warehouse that caught fire, but most of the important boxes are in the three warehouses where the fire has been controlled."
Earlier on Sunday, the Supreme Judicial Council, Iraq’s highest judicial authority, named judges tasked with taking over the country’s elections commission after allegations of widespread electoral violations in the May election.