[QODLink]
Middle East
Allawi back in Iraq vote-count lead
Secular coalition closes gap with al-Maliki's bloc, with up to 93 per cent of votes counted.
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2010 17:29 GMT
The latest election results show al-Maliki and Allawi's blocs neck and neck in the race for parliament [AFP]

The latest results from Iraq's parliamentary election show the Iraqiya coalition, led by Iyad Allawi, the former prime minister, regaining a narrow lead.

The State of Law coalition of Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, remains ahead in Baghdad.

Up to 93 per cent of the votes cast in the March 7 election have now been counted.

However, the tally does not yet include the votes of soldiers, police or Iraqis living abroad.

In the crucial province-by-province tally, al-Maliki has been ahead throughout the race, winning in seven out of Iraq's 18 provinces to Allawi's lead in five.

One-man rule

The parliamentary elections, Iraq's second only for a full-term parliament since the 2003 US-led invasion, will determine who gets to form the next government that will rule as American soldiers leave.

Iraq poll results
The vote tally so far

Allawi's Sunni support is likely due to his non-sectarian stance and repeated condemnations of the influence of Iraq's powerful Shia neighbour, Iran.

In an interview with Reuters news agency on Friday, Allawi said he would not accept a return to al-Maliki's "one-man rule", indicating a long struggle in the shaping of a new government.

"Our concern really is the welfare and well-being of the people, regardless of what kind of shape the government will take or how long it's going to take," Allawi said.

special report

"Because we are not going to accept forming a very quick government ... that would bring the same disasters of the last four years again to Iraq. The rule of one party, one-man rule, we don't accept this."

However, Allawi did not rule out sharing power with al-Maliki conditionally. "If he changes his attitude not by words but by deeds ... then of course we'll be very willing to co-operate with him," he said.

"The dynamics have changed, maybe this will alert him that he will have no future if he persists in whatever he has done."

Long process

The vote counting has been a long process, with results being portioned out piecemeal by election officials and almost immediately subject to fraud accusations.

Parliament seats are apportioned mainly by how well coalitions do in the provinces, not according to overall vote.

With so much at stake, several leading candidates have raised accusations of fraud. Al-Maliki's bloc accused election officials of doctoring the vote counts and called for a recount on Tuesday.

Qassim al-Aboudi of Iraq's electoral commission sought to assure all candidates of the fairness of the election process the following day.

"We reassure all the political entities that the electronic counting centre is rechecking all the results counts from all the provinces," he said.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Report on child sex abuse in British Asian community highlights issues that may affect the entire nation.
Taliban makes quick gains in Afghanistan with little opposition from Afghan army as US withdrawal begins.
Analysts say China moving back toward 1950s-era public trials aimed at shaming and intimidation.
Record numbers of migrants have made harrowing sea journeys to Italy and Greece this year.
In Vietnam, 40 percent of all pregnancies are terminated each year, a rate that health officials are hoping to reduce.
join our mailing list