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Iraq’s president calls for election recount

Iraq's president has called for a recount in this month's parliamentary elections.

The polls have turned into a tight race between the prime minister and a secular rival amid accusations of fraud.

A new count could further extend political wrangling in the contentious race.

The demand from president Jalal Talabani came a day after Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki appeared to back the idea by calling on the election commission overseeing the counting to quickly respond to requests from political blocs for a recount.

The demands are the latest twist to an election that will determine who will govern the country as US troops go home.

Counting since the March 7 vote has been slow and plagued with confusion and disarray, fuelling claims of fraud, though international observers have said the vote and count have been fair.

Mr Talabani, in a statement on his website yesterday, demanded an immediate recount to “preclude any doubt and misunderstanding” in the results.

“As the president of the state, authorised to preserve the constitution and to ensure justice and absolute transparency, I demand the Independent High Electoral Commission recount the ballots manually,” Mr Talabani said.

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