A Shiite alliance won a slim majority in Iraq's new National Assembly, according to certified election returns announced Thursday, but it may take weeks to form a government. Meanwhile, interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi cautioned against excluding all Saddam Hussein's supporters. Because a two-thirds majority in the 275-member parliament, or 182 seats, is required for confirming the top positions in the new government, the United Iraqi Alliance will have to make deals with the other parties. The alliance won 140 seats, while Kurdish parties got 75, secular Shiites took 40 and nine smaller parties shared 20, the final returns of the Jan. 30 elections showed. (AP)
Iraq's interim prime minister cautioned the winning Shiite alliance against banning members of Saddam Hussein's former party from government, saying Thursday that it would "throw the country into problems." In an interview with The Associated Press, Ayad Allawi urged the incoming government to focus on national unity and reconciliation rather than hit at those Iraqis - mainly Sunni Muslims - who dominated Iraq until their abrupt removal from power following the U.S.-led war in 2003. (AP) Also from AP, a transcript of their Allawi interview.
The U.N. Security Council congratulated Iraqis on their historic elections and urged the new transitional government Wednesday to ensure that all sectors of society have a voice in drafting a new constitution. (AP)
Dr. James Zogby: The Challenges Facing Iraq After Elections. The Jan. 30, 2005 Iraqi election took place against the backdrop of a deep sectarian divide on almost every critical issue facing the country — whether or not to have an Islamic government; whether or not to continue the US presence; and whether or not the ongoing insurgency represents legitimate resistance. Even before the final tallies are announced, the attitudes of Iraq’s electorate can be culled from an exclusive pre-election poll commissioned by Abu Dhabi Television and conducted by Zogby International of New York (ADTV/ZI). (Palestine Chronicle)
Blog Iraq The Model: Democracy in progress
Blogger Ali, over at Free Iraqi: Some observations from the Iraqi elections.