Saturday, February 11, 2006

Washington Post: The Shiite religious coalition that won the most seats in December's parliamentary elections could announce its choice for prime minister as soon as Saturday, politicians said Friday, as Iraq's electoral commission released certified results of the vote. The results, which are final, did not change the expectation that the next prime minister will come from the ranks of the United Iraqi Alliance, a coalition of Shiite religious parties, which won 128 out of 275 seats in the Dec. 15 elections. Two candidates from the coalition have taken center stage: Ibrahim Jafari, the current prime minister, and Adel Abdul Mahdi, a secular economist who is one of Iraq's two deputy presidents. The alliance is divided, however, among its member parties over which man to put forward, Shiite politicians said. Jafari's support comes from his Dawa party and followers of Moqtada Sadr, a popular cleric. Abdul Mahdi's primary backer is his own party, the powerful Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. It is still unclear which way a number of smaller parties in the coalition will swing.

(timeline) AP: What's next for Iraq [after the election results]