IRAQ’S election commission has started a manual recount for more ballots from parliamentary elections held two months ago which were marred by allegations of irregularities and fraud.

The May 12 poll was the country’s fourth national election since the 2003 US-led invasion toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.

It was also the first vote since the Baghdad government announced the defeat of Daesh. However, turnout was low, mainly due to public anger at the political elite.

The partial recount, approved by Iraq’s supreme court last month, will further complicate the fragile post-elections period and prolong the process of forming a new government. It will include recounting of paper ballots from inside and outside the country.

Yesterday ballot boxes were piled up inside a hall at Baghdad’s International Fair under tight security measures. Observers from the United Nations and Iraqi political parties watched as commission employees started the recount. The ballot boxes are from six Shia-dominated provinces: Basra, Mayssan, Thi Qar, Muthana, Qadissiya and Wasit.

Judge Essam al-Shaalan, who supervised the process, it was unclear how long the recount would last.