Friday, February 04, 2005

Partial results released on Thursday by the Iraqi electoral commission consistently placed the Shia Islamist-led United Iraqi Alliance first, with more than two thirds of the 1.6m votes so far counted and confirmed from the Baghdad and five southern majority-Shia provinces. The Iraqi List of interim prime minister Iyad Allawi, meanwhile, came second across the board, but nowhere except in Baghdad province did the prime minister's list gain more than one third of the number of votes that went to the Alliance. (Financial Times)

Following the low turnout of Sunni Arab voters in Iraq's national elections Sunday, former Iraqi Governing Council member, Adnan Pachachi, says he has initiated conciliatory talks with Sunni Arab groups that did not take part in the balloting. The secular Sunni Arab elder statesman worries that the credibility of the elected national assembly and the constitution it drafts may be greatly diminished without Sunni-Arab participation. Adnan Pachachi, who was only one of a handful of Sunni-Arab candidates in Sunday's race, has spent the past several days reaching out to leaders of Sunni-led opposition groups, who boycotted national elections. (Voice of America)

US officials praised the election turnout in Iraq's restive third city of Mosul, but political parties in its ethnically-divided province protested about the lack of polling centres and ballot papers. (AFP)

Electoral officials in the southern city of Karbala have discovered a case of election fraud in which voter education materials were tampered with to add a plug for the major Shia-led coalition, the United Iraqi Alliance. (Institute for War & Peace Reporting)

Boston Globe: For Shi'ite Najaf, a new direction.

The United States "will resolutely stand beside" the Iraqi people in their struggle to achieve democracy, stability and prosperity following the January 30 elections, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs and Iraq Coordinator Ronald Schlicher says. "As we enter this post-election period, our reconstruction efforts will be focused on assisting the Iraqi Transitional Government to improve security, create jobs, develop economic policy and regulatory frameworks, and expand private enterprise," Schlicher said in a prepared statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee February 3. (US Dept. of State)