Published: Fri, May 18, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Iraqi Election Commission: Kirkuk Voting Stations Under Siege

Iraqi Election Commission: Kirkuk Voting Stations Under Siege

Gunmen have laid siege to several polling stations in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, trapping election workers and blocking the vote count four days after a national election.

They said hundreds of ethnic Turkmen and Arab demonstrators massed outside the offices to protest alleged fraud after early returns showed a Kurdish party winning most of the vote.

But the Turkmen and Arab communities have disputed those results and called for a recount. While he didn't identify who they were, he said that the gunmen were calling on the commission to change the results of the election.

"Tension is mounting in Kirkuk as Turkmen continue to demonstrate for their rights", al-Salihi said.

A coalition organized by the populist Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has captured the largest share of the national vote, with more than 90 percent of the ballots counted.

The final nationwide results should be announced in the next two days, Badran said.

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Iraq's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) won parliamentary polls in Kirkuk while Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) secured northern Iraq's Dohuk, the country's election commission said on Tuesday.

In October, Iraqi forces backed by Shia militias dislodged Kurdish Peshmerga fighters who had taken control of Kirkuk city in 2014.

Saturday's elections were the first since the defeat of IS a year ago by Iraqi forces backed by a US-led coalition, but the turnout fell far short of previous elections with only 44.5 percent of registered voters participating.

Prime Minister Abadi's Nasr (Victory) Coalition appeared to be in the third place according to figures from 10 provinces.

Saturday's election was the first since the defeat of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Turnout was 44 percent, the lowest since the 2003 USA -led invasion that overthrew Saddam Hussein.

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