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Baghdad vote recount to begin

30 April 2010 0:25

Iraq’s election commission agrees to recount ballots cast in Baghdad, causing a further delay in forming a new government already overdue for weeks.

In a close-fought contest in the country’s landmark March 7 parliamentary elections, political factions have been wrestling over the results. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has also put up a flurry of appeals for recount alleging fraud at polling stations in Baghdad.

The manual recount will begin on Monday and last for three weeks, and possibly even longer than it took to count the whole country’s ballots, Faraj al-Haidari, chairman of Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), told reporters in the Iraqi capital on Thursday.

The recount will be overseen by observers from the European Union, United Nations and the Arab League, Haidari said.

Baghdad was by far the biggest prize in last month’s elections with 70 seats up for grabs in the new 325-seat parliament. New vote tallies could easily erase former prime minister Iyad Allawi’s razor-thin lead.

The delay also threatens to undermine the country’s fragile stability.

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