Iraqi Election: Allawi Narrowly Wins, Maliki Asks For Recount

The coalition headed by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi narrowly won Iraqi’s parliamentary elections over the incumbent, current Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. The results were announced Friday by Iraq’s Independent Electoral Commission two weeks after the polls took place. Allawi, a Shia Muslims, got a lot of votes from Sunnis and is more secular than his main opponent al-Maliki. The vote could mark an hopeful departure from Iraqi secular violence.

However, Allawi will have to form a coalition government, which will be a difficult task. Allawi’s Iraqiya party just won 91 of the 325-seats in the Iraqi parliament. It is just two more seats than the 89 seats won by his rival Maliki’s State Of Law Alliance party.

“We will work with all sides, whether they won or did not win the election, to form the next government. Iraqiya will open its heart to all political forces and all those who want to build Iraq, and we will together bury political sectarism,” said Allawi after the announcement of the election results.

But al-Maliki, who has alleged voting irregularities, fraud and even an involvement of the US to tilt the elections in favor of Allawi, is refusing to accept the results and he is asking for a manual recount of the ballots.

“We will insist for a manual recount of votes. We cannot accept these results while we suspect them of being fraudulent. We want to build our country on a clear and transparent election, therefore the Electoral Commission must respond to our demand,” said al-Maliki.

For their parts, the US ambassador, Christopher Hill, and the top US military commander, General Ray Odierno, said in a joint statement that they stood behind the election results.

The different parties have now 3 days to submit complaints about the result, which the Election Commission will investigate. The results, then, will be certified by Iraq Supreme Court. Allawi will have then 30 days to constitute a government, which will required a 163-seats majority.

Allawi is a moderate Shia Muslims, and he ran on a secular platform which allowed him to receive a substantial amount of Sunni votes. His political alliance includes Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi. Despite the current tensions between Allawi and al-Maliki, the elections are indicating a change for the better in Iraqi’s politics. The poll results show that a growing number of Iraqis want a secular government as they are fed up with sectarian violence and too many religious people at the top of the Iraqi authority food chain.

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One Response to Iraqi Election: Allawi Narrowly Wins, Maliki Asks For Recount

  1. Ole Ole Olson March 28, 2010 at 7:35 am

    Looks like a step in the right direction. Al-Malaki seemed to be taking the country closer towards an Iranian style theocracy.

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