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    Cool Iraqi Premier Maliki Garners Most Votes After 89% Ballot Count

    Iraqi Premier Maliki Garners Most Votes After 89% Ballot Count

    March 19, 2010, 7:22 AM EDT

    By Caroline Alexander

    March 19 (Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Shiite Muslim-dominated bloc maintained a slim lead in Iraq’s parliamentary election, the latest tally of ballots shows.

    With 89 percent of total votes counted from the March 7 election, al-Maliki’s State of Law alliance was about 40,000 votes ahead of his closest rival, former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi’s Iraqiya bloc, according to results released late yesterday by the Independent High Electoral Commission.

    Al-Maliki maintained his lead in seven of Iraq’s 18 provinces, including Baghdad, which represents about a fifth of the parliament’s 325 seats. Allawi’s bloc, which campaigned on a non-sectarian platform, was ahead in five.

    Neither Al-Maliki nor Allawi is set to win enough seats to form a government without the backing of other parties, and negotiations could drag on for months. The instability might hamper the Obama administration as it tries to reduce U.S. troop strength in Iraq from 96,000 to 50,000 by August.

    The latest tally includes about 70 percent of ballots cast during the three days of special voting for security personnel, hospital patients and staff, and prisoners. Votes cast by Iraqis abroad may be counted today, according to the panel.

    Final results will be announced in the “coming days,” panel spokesman Qassim al-Aboudi told reporters in Baghdad yesterday. The results are expected to be certified by the end of the month after all allegations of election fraud are investigated.
    http://www.businessweek.com/news/201...lot-count.html
    Last edited by dbcooper; 03-19-2010 at 10:27 AM.
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