Wednesday, December 21, 2005

BBC reports on the preliminary election results:

The Iraqi Accord Front came second with 18.6% of the vote in Baghdad Province, partial results from 89% of the ballot boxes showed. The Shia-led United Iraqi Alliance won 58% of the vote in Iraq's largest province, where 2,161 candidates ran for 59 of the Council of Representatives' 275 seats. Former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's secular Iraqi National List came third. The election commission also announced that the United Iraqi Alliance was ahead in Basra and eight other southern provinces, and that the Kurdistan Alliance was leading in four northern provinces, including oil-rich Tamim. In the four remaining provinces, where the population of Sunni Arabs is largest, the Iraqi Accord Front came top. The front won 73% of the vote in Anbar Province, 36% in Nineveh, 33% in Salahuddin, 36% in Diyala.

The BBC's Middle East analyst, Roger Hardy, says the results in Baghdad will be bad news for both Mr Allawi and the Iraqi Accord Front, which wants to increase Sunni Arab representation in a parliament currently dominated by Shia and Kurdish parties. To judge from the votes counted so far, the Shia alliance is likely to retain its dominant position, our correspondent says. The election commission has said the final results will not be announced until early next month, due to an investigation into complaints of irregularities.