Maliki still leading Allawi in Iraq election results

Iraqi PM al-Maliki retained his narrow lead over secularist rival Allawi as Iraq neared a final preliminary count of votes cast in a March 7 parliamentary election.

Maliki still leading Allawi in Iraq election results

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki retained his narrow lead over secularist challenger Iyad Allawi on Thursday as Iraq neared a final preliminary count of votes cast in a March 7 parliamentary election.

With nearly 90 percent of the vote tallied, Maliki's State of Law coalition was about 40,000 votes ahead of Iraqiya, the cross-sectarian bloc headed by Allawi, who served as prime minister in 2004 and 2005.

Maliki's group was ahead in seven provinces compared to five for Iraqiya, and three each for the next two challengers, the Shi'ite Iraqi National Alliance (INA) and the bloc representing the two most powerful parties from Iraq's Kurdish north.

The latest vote count was made public 11 days after the election, a delay that ratcheted up tensions and contributed to allegations of vote manipulation. Maliki's party filed a formal complaint this week, following similar charges from Iraqiya and INA.

The strong showing by Allawi among Sunnis marginalised by the rise of Iraq's Shi'ite majority after the 2003 U.S. invasion promised to be a key factor in the coming talks as U.S. forces prepared to pull out by the end of 2011.

The latest tally from Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) included 70 percent of ballots cast in the "special voting" period for soldiers, police officers, detainees and the sick and disabled held before the March 7 election, and some votes cast by Iraqis abroad.

"We are hoping to finish tomorrow from the special and abroad voting and the IHEC will be announcing the results in the coming few days, God willing," commission member Qasim al-Aboudi said.

Official results are not expected for weeks.

Maliki retained his leads in two of the largest electoral prizes, the capital, Baghdad, where Allawi's Iraqiya was running second, and the southern oil hub of Basra, where INA was in second place and Iraqiya was a distant third.

Allawi was dominating Nineveh province, which held the second largest number of seats in the next parliament, and maintained a lead by the narrowest of margins in the disputed northern oil region of Kirkuk over a bloc of Kurdish parties that want to fold Kirkuk into their semi-autonomous enclave.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Mart 2010, 08:19
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