Iraqi parliamentary race remains closeMarch 15th, 2010 - 12:51 am ICT by IANS
Baghdad, March 14 (DPA) New results from Iraq’s elections announced Sunday showed Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s coalition ahead in the southern province of Basra, and his top rival leading in the western province of al-Anbar.
If the preliminary results from last week’s parliamentary polls announced so far hold when final tallies come in later this month, the vote may split along geographic lines, with al-Maliki’s State of Law coalition winning in the south, and former prime minister Ayad Allawi’s Iraqi List winning in the north.
The electoral commission’s Judge Qassim al-Aboudi Sunday announced that al-Maliki’s coalition was leading in the heavily Shiite Muslim southern province of Basra, and that former prime
minister Ayad Allawi’s Iraqi List was leading in the heavily Sunni Muslim western province of al-Anbar.
The new results, broadcast on Iraq’s al-Sumaria television, suggested that the race will remain close, though al-Maliki’s bloc is leading in the crucial district of Baghdad.
Baghdad is by far the biggest electoral prize in the contest, with 68 seats out of 325 in the new parliament.
In addition to the incumbent prime minister’s lead in the capital, al-Maliki’s bloc is leading in early returns from most provinces to the south of Baghdad.
In addition to its lead in al-Anbar, Allawi’s Iraqi List is leading in the northern provinces of Nineveh, Diyala and Salah al-Din.
The Iraqi National Alliance (INA), a coalition of mostly Shiite religious parties, including the largest party in the outgoing parliament, the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraqi (SICI), is running a close second in the capital, and is showing a narrow lead in the southern provinces of Qadisiya and Maysan.
Those early results, combined with the INA’s strong second place showings in provinces where al-Maliki’s coalition is leading, may well give the INA a crucial role in forming a new government.
But many members of the INA broke away from al-Maliki’s coalition before the election over a dispute over whether the prime minister should be from SICI’s ranks or from the ranks of al-Maliki’s Dawaa Party.
This might suggest an alliance between the INA and Allawi’s Iraqi List.
But the prospects of an INA-Iraqi List alliance are complicated by the fact that SICI’s coalition partners from Shiite preacher Muqtada al-Sadr’s political movement bear a grudge against Allawi for the 2004 military campaign he and US forces waged against them.
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Tags: al anbar, al sumaria, diyala, early returns, former prime minister, islamic council, northern provinces, nuri al maliki, parliamentary polls, place showings, prime minister ayad allawi, prime minister nuri, qadisiya, qassim, salah al din, shiite muslim, sici, southern province, sunni muslim, western province