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    Irregularities cited in Iraqi election

    The UN’s Martin Kobler praised the Iraq vote.
    The UN’s Martin Kobler praised the Iraq vote.

    BAGHDAD — Iraqi election monitors on Sunday reported multiple irregularities in the country’s first provincial vote since US troops left, but were unclear as to whether results would be affected.

    In an initial report, two nongovernmental organizations, Shams and Tamoz, said over 300 irregularities had been recorded by the 7,000 monitors they had sent across Iraq to cover Saturday’s polls.

    The vote was a key test of Iraq’s short experience with democratic elections because it was the first one run since the US withdrawal in December 2011. Allegations of vote fixing are not uncommon.


    In one instance, Hoger Jato of Shams said security force members had helped specific campaigns while on duty, with some advising voters at polling centers on whom to support.

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    Elsewhere, electoral commission employees reportedly failed to check the identities of voters, allowing them to cast ballots on behalf of others.

    The groups did not say whether the irregularities were widespread enough to affect the election’s outcome.

    Final results are expected in several days.

    On Sunday evening, a bomb went off in a popular kebab shop in Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, killing eight and wounding 25, according to police and hospital officials. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information to reporters.


    Hours after closing the polls, the UN special representative, Martin Kobler, praised the vote as well organized and peaceful. ‘‘Credible elections are critical to the country’s stability,’’ he said.

    Associated Press