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Middle East
Iraq vote count too close to call
The votes tallied so far suggest weeks or months of horse-trading ahead.
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2010 19:51 GMT
Vote counting in Iraq's elections is under way,
but official results could take weeks [AFP]

With early results representing only a fraction of the vote and no figures in from areas like Basra, overall results from Iraq's general elections were too close to call six days after the March 7 vote.

By Saturday, preliminary tallies from 10 of Iraq's 18 provinces were in.

State of Law coalition led by Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister, is leading among the three top rivals.

The cross-sectarian, secularist Iraqiya list headed by Iyad Allawi, the former prime minister, is running second, and the Iraqi National Alliance (INA), a rival to al-Maliki among Iraq's Shia majority, is a close third.

The powerful Kurdish parties led as expected in Erbil.

The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) said that just 18 per cent of the votes have been counted in Baghdad so far.

LATEST RESULTS
Iraq election tally so far

Also, as the results are not drawn equally from across the city, the figures are not representative.

Of the votes counted, 75 per cent were from Risafa, which is a predominiately Shia district and 25 per cent comes from Karkh, which is more Sunni and mixed.

Caution over Baghdad

Hazem al-Nuaimi, a political analyst, cautioned against reading too much into any early results from Baghdad as the city is now largely segregated along sectarian lines.

special report

"It is clear that the final votes will be distributed among the blocs closely," Nuaimi said. "This means there will no winning bloc with a big margin."

Baghdad is worth twice as many seats in Iraq's next parliament as the next largest province.

The parliament has a total of 325 seats.

The votes tallied so far suggest weeks or months of horse-trading ahead to form a government and pick a prime minister.

Allegations of fraud may also unsettle the scenario.

Iraqiya has charged that ballots were dumped in the garbage, nearly a quarter of a million soldiers were denied voting rights and electoral commission workers fiddled with vote counts.

After the last elections in 2005, sectarian violence erupted as politicians took months to form a government.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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