Arabs in Kirkuk joined Turkmen groups' protests and announced on Saturday that they reject the Iraqi election results due to fraud allegations.
Speaking at a press meeting, the governor of Kirkuk, Rakan al-Jubouri, said that they quickly realized that there was clear fraud in the elections and since the fraud was proven, people in Kirkuk have started to protest the elections, which have been lasting for days now.
The protests started last Sunday by the Iraqi Turkmens and several Arab and Kurd groups in Kirkuk regarding alleged fraud in the country's first parliamentary elections since the defeat of Daesh. The protesters claimed their votes were illegally changed in favor of Kurdish parties by local officials at polling stations. Disputes between Kurdish, Arab and Turkmen communities led to a curfew being imposed in Kirkuk on the night of the vote, with clashes and sit-in protests.
Indicating that they reject the shady general elections, al-Jubouri said that because of the fraud, a lack of trust emerged between the voters and the ones responsible for the reliability of the votes.
"Although the ultimate results have been declared, we did not give up our demand to recount the votes manually. Unfortunately, all of these incidents started to threaten the peace among the ethnic groups in Kirkuk," al-Jubouri stated.
The protestors had cried foul amid reports of malfunctioning electronic voting machines, which were used for the first time in Iraqi elections and demanded the recount of the votes one more time manually.
Al-Jubouri further underlined that hundreds of ballot boxes are still at voting centers. "There are exactly 306 ballot boxes that have not been brought to the election center in Kirkuk and the ballots inside them are still not being counted. It is still unknown which political party get how many votes from these ballot boxes," he said.
The vote, the first in Iraq since the government declared victory against the Daesh terrorist group in December, is also the first to have taken place without significant political violence since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.