The Independent High Electoral Commission was scheduled to release final preliminary results 19 days after the March 7 parliamentary vote Iraqis hoped would help stabilise their country after U.S. troops invasion.
"There is no big difference between the two main leading lists," IHEC chief Faraj al-Haidari told Reuters by telephone on Thursday. "The difference will be one or two seats, not more."
A partial vote count released on Sunday put Iraqiya, a cross-sectarian coalition headed by secularist former prime minister Allawi about 11,000 votes in front of Maliki's State of Law bloc with 95 percent of nearly 12 million ballots tallied.
Allawi's strong support among minority Sunnis has exacerbated concerns that any attempt by majority Shi'ite coalitions to push him aside could reignite sectarian tensions.
Maliki's State of Law is already in merger talks with the third-place group, the Iraqi National Alliance, according to officials for the two mainly Shi'ite coalitions. INA is expected to win 65-70 seats, and the combination of the two could be close to the 163 seats needed to form a government.
ReutersGüncelleme Tarihi: 26 Mart 2010, 01:11