Maliki’s coalition ahead in Iraq’s provincial elections

February 20th, 2009 - 4:36 am ICT by IANS  

Baghdad, Feb 20 (DPA) A coalition led by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuori al-Maliki won a majority of seats in Iraq’s Basra province and a near majority in the capital of Baghdad, Iraq’s electoral commission announced Thursday.
In the southern province of Basra, al-Maliki’s State of Law coalition won 20 out of the province’s 35 seats, Iraqi news agency the Voices of Iraq (VOI) reported.

The province, known for its oil, is an important victory for the Iraqi premier.

In the province of Baghdad, the State of Law coalition won the majority of the capital’s council. Twenty-eight seats went to the State of Law coalition, followed by the Sunni Tawafuq party, which won seven seats.

Sunnis, who boycotted Iraqi elections in 2005, made a strong showing in last month’s elections, with the Awakening Councils, also known as “Sahwa”, winning more seats - eight - than any other party in the Sunni Anbar province’s 29-seat council, VOI reported.

The Awakening Councils are tribal leaders who turned against Al Qaeda militants in Iraq after collaborating with the US forces in the country.

The elections Jan 31 were a milestone for Iraq’s sovereignty. They are the first elections to be supervised by Iraqi security without foreign help since the US-led invasion in 2003.

The elections took place in 14 out of Iraq’s 18 provinces, leaving out the three provinces of the Kurdish Autonomous Region and Kirkuk. Votes there have yet to be scheduled.

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