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Sanders claims strong victory after 'screw-up' over Iowa vote

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Close battle: Bernie Sanders just edged ahead of Pete Buttigieg. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Close battle: Bernie Sanders just edged ahead of Pete Buttigieg. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Getty Images

Close battle: Bernie Sanders just edged ahead of Pete Buttigieg. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Bernie Sanders claimed a belated victory for Monday's state caucus in Iowa amid calls for a recount as the row over the vote continued to divide the Democrats.

Mr Sanders, the progressive front-runner, called the delay of results a "screw-up" by his own party as he addressed supporters in New Hampshire, ahead of the next primary.

Monday's Iowa caucuses, the first votes cast in the race to find the Democratic presidential nominee, were marred by technical problems and inconsistencies which saw the official result delayed by more than two days.

By yesterday afternoon, 97pc of the results had been released, showing Mr Sanders and moderate candidate Pete Buttigieg virtually neck and neck.

However, Mr Sanders insisted he had the clearest margin of victory in the popular vote, which he said put him 6,000 votes ahead of his rivals.

Campaigning in Manchester, New Hampshire, the 78-year-old Vermont senator criticised the Iowa Democratic Party for its delay in counting votes.

"That screw-up has been extremely unfair to the people of Iowa, to all the candidates and all of their supporters," he said.

"What I want to do, three days late, is to thank the people of Iowa for the very strong victory they gave us at the Iowa caucuses."

Mr Sanders also took a swipe at Mr Buttigieg, a former mayor of South Bend Indiana, who similarly claimed victory earlier in the week.

Mr Sanders argued: "From where I come, when you get 6,000 more votes you're strongly regarded to be the winner."

Focus has now shifted to New Hampshire, which holds its Democratic primary on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee yesterday called for a "recanvass" of the results of the Iowa caucuses, saying it was needed to "assure public confidence" after three days of technical issues and delays.

"Enough is enough," party leader Tom Perez said.

(© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent