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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Another Election Faces Fraud Contentions: Iraqi Kurds Vote

Voting has ended in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region with the opposition complaining of irregularities.

The polls closed at 7pm (16:00GMT) on Saturday, after electoral officials extended voting by an hour to accomodate residents that had flocked to cast their ballots in the local presidential and parliamentary elections.

"We ... decided to extend voting by one hour because we received complaints from some voters because they could not find their names on voting lists," Hamdia al-Husseini, the head of the region's electoral department, said.

Final results are not expected for several days as ballots must be collected in Irbil, the regional capital, before being flown to Baghdad to be counted.

Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel Hamid, reporting from Irbil, said observers at polling stations across the region maintained that voting took place smoothly for the most part.

But just before the polls closed, the region's main opposition group told Al Jazeera that their observers had witnessed instances of fraud in some areas.

A spokesman for the Change List, the main opposition party, said fraud was especially "significant" in the extended hour of voting.

link: Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Iraqi Kurd vote ends in acrimony


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