May 12, 2018 / 9:03 PM / 15 days ago

Iraq declares curfew, recount in Kirkuk after 'illogical' vote count

KIRKUK, Iraq, May 12 (Reuters) - The governor of Iraq’s Kirkuk province declared a curfew on Saturday and ordered a manual recount of votes there in the national election, saying an electronic counting system had produced an “illogical” result.

Rakan al-Jubouri, governor of the northern oil-rich region, announced a curfew from midnight until 6 a.m. (0300 GMT) to prevent any ethnic or sectarian tension between its Kurdish, Arab and ethnic Turkmen communities.

Al-Jubouri did not elaborate in his statement on the problem with the vote-counting system.

In October, Iraqi forces backed by Shi’ite militias dislodged Kurdish Peshmerga fighters who had taken control of Kirkuk city in 2014, preventing its capture by Islamic State militants who had overrun Iraqi army positions in northern and western Iraq.

The return of the Iraqi army to Kirkuk was greeted with relief by the Arab and Turkmen populations there.

Saturday’s elections are the first in Iraq since the defeat of Islamic State last year by Iraqi forces backed by a U.S.-led coalition. (Reporting by John Davison; Writing by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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