PUK in Kirkuk: Our votes increased, our seats remain the same

Karwan Salhi - KirkukNow After 25% of the ballots were manually recounted in Kirkuk province, the embattled Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) claims vote increase and retaining the same number of seats. Most of the Kurdish and non-Kurdish political parties claimed that PUK rigged the election results in the province, hence asking for a manual recount. The manual recount process started on 3 July and ended on 6, but the electoral body, Independent High Election Commission (IHEC), has not announced any results. In a press conference on 8 July, PUK’s member of Leadership Council Khalid Shwani insisted that PUK has retained the same seats in the province, which were six out of the total 13, while their votes have increased. Turkmen and Arab component representatives each earned three seats, and the last seat was a quota share of the Christian component. Shwani warned against “disturbing coexistence” in the city through protests, “the security of Kirkuk is the red line that no one should cross”. He called on the parties to accept the results. [embed]https://www.facebook.com/Kirkuknow/videos/1824357040962294/[/embed] Meanwhile, some Turkmen and Arab representatives are disgruntled with the process, asking for a total manual recount of the province. The head of the PUK bloc to the Iraqi parliamentary election was also present in the press conference, claiming that a total of 522 ballot boxes have been checked manually in five days, from the total of two thousand ballots of the province, which amounts to 25%. Although PUK was discontent that ballot boxes were in the hands of “a certain party”, he said, “but PUK was patient due to the current situation in Kirkuk”. He said PUK would face any further accusation in court. The manual recount process, which ended this weekend in Kirkuk, will continue in other cities and provinces that there is suspicion of rigging.

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