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Shia Parties Win Iraqi Election

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Shia parties win Iraqi election

Counting votes in Kurdish city of Sulaymaniya

Officials will not confirm the results for three more days

A Shia-dominated coalition won nearly half of the 8.5 million votes cast in Iraq's election, poll officials say.

 

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The Kurdish coalition came second with nearly 2.2 million votes, while the party of interim PM Iyad Allawi was third with nearly 1.2 million.

 

There is now a three-day period for complaints to be lodged. If none are upheld, the results become official.

 

Iraqi officials said turnout in the 30 January poll was about 58%, but much of the Sunni minority did not take part.

 

 

PROVISIONAL RESULTS

Shia list: 48%

Kurdish list: 26%

Iyad Allawi list: 14%

Others: 12%

Turnout: 58%

 

Attacks by the largely Sunni insurgency are ongoing, with an Iraqi army general killed in the latest violence.

 

Provisional results released by Iraq's election commission show that the coalition of religious Shia Muslim candidates, assembled by the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, received about 48% of the vote.

 

The Kurdish parties took about 26%, while the list led by Mr Allawi was a distant third with nearly 14% of the vote.

 

The main Shia list of candidates - the United Iraqi Alliance - will be granted the most seats in the new 275-member assembly, and is expected to nominate the new prime minister.

 

 

ELECTION SCHEDULE

14-16 February: Complaints dealt with

Early March: PM appointed

Late March: Government formed

15 August: Draft constitution (six-month extension possible)

15 October: Possible referendum on constitution

By 15 December: Elections for government

 

In depth: The next stages

 

However, the BBC's Caroline Hawley in Baghdad says the Shia parties will be disappointed as they had anticipated winning 60% of the vote.

 

Correspondents say bargaining is under way behind the scenes for government posts, with the Kurds seeking the presidency.

 

Analysts say one of the biggest challenges will now be keeping the Sunni Arab minority engaged in the political process as the job begins of writing a new constitution for Iraq.

 

In Anbar province, at the heart of the restive "Sunni triangle" area of central Iraq where the insurgency is strongest, fewer than 2% of those eligible to vote actually did so. Insurgents had threatened to kill those who ventured out to vote.

 

Ambushed

 

The announcement of the results comes after a week of violence in which scores of Iraqis have died.

 

In the latest attacks, gunmen ambushed and killed Brigadier General Jadaan Farhan in northern Baghdad, along with two other passengers who were in a car with him.

 

Elsewhere in the capital, police said they had found the bodies of two men who worked for the party of Mr Allawi. A police spokesman said the men were from the same family.

 

North of Baghdad, in the town of Baquba, gunmen shot dead a communist member of the local council.

 

Further north, in Mosul, hospital officials say two people were killed in a rocket attack on the city hall.

 

In the western city of Samarra, two Iraqis are reported to have been killed in an attack at a roadblock, and another person is reported to have been killed in a car bomb attack at a checkpoint south of Baghdad, on the road to Karbala.

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