Tuesday, January 03, 2006

AP reports: Final results from last month's parliamentary elections might not be announced for two more weeks, an official said Tuesday, a day after Iraq's main Sunni Arab group agreed on broad outlines for a coalition government. The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq has completed its investigation of almost 2,000 election complaints and will announce the findings Wednesday, commission member Hussein Hindawi told The Associated Press. But the commission won't announce final election results until an international team finishes its work, meaning results might not be ready for two weeks, said commission member Safwat Rashid. Officials previously said final results of the Dec. 15 vote would be announced in early January. The commission investigated 1,980 complaints, including 50 that were considered serious enough to alter results in some districts, an election official said. [...]

BBC News reports: A team of international monitors in Iraq have begun to review complaints of fraud and voter intimidation during last month's parliamentary elections. The International Mission for Iraqi Elections is expected to spend several days studying the allegations made by many Sunni Arab and secular parties. Early results suggest the governing Shia and Kurdish alliances have won the majority of votes. The final results are expected once the monitors have completed their review. The United Nations has said the poll was transparent and fair, and that a rerun would not be necessary. [...]

AP reports: Iraq's main Sunni Arab group made an unprecedented trip north to see the Kurds and agreed Monday for the first time on broad outlines for a coalition government - possibly opening a way out of the political turmoil that has gripped the country since disputed elections. A promise of Iraqi army protection for tanker truck drivers reopened the country's main refinery - a last-ditch effort by the Shiite-led government to avert a fuel crisis that has led to deadly riots and the oil minister's resignation. As part of the bargaining for a new coalition government, President Jalal Talabani assured Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari that his fellow Kurds would not object if the United Iraqi Alliance - the Shiite religious bloc that won the most votes in the election - again nominates him for the prime minister post. [...]

Monday, January 02, 2006

Zaman Online (Turkey) reports: Although the final results of the general elections in Iraq have not been revealed, Shiites and Kurds, which are expected to take the first and the second places in the elections, reached a consensus about establishing a government. London Centered Al-Hayat Newspaper wrote Kurds and United Shiite Alliance leader Abdulaziz al-Hakim, who made negotiations in Suleymaniye, reached a consensus on some principles. According to the news, al-Hakim and Iraq’s Kurdish President, Jalal Talabani, reached an agreement on the following issues: The constitution which was subject to referendum on October 15 will not change. The federalist system will be applied in the North, Middle and South of the country. The studies to pull the successful groups in the elections in the Kurdish-Shiite Government will continue. The newspaper noted this consensus may divide Sunnis, who opposed the constitution and federalist structure and participated in the elections for this particular reason. Sunni Arabs, who defend there were irregularities in the October 15 elections, and secular Shiite groups announced they will not negotiate with conservative Shiites, who are winners of the elections, to establish a government. Meanwhile, Iraqi Vice President Ahmed Celebi, who is a former favorite of the US, still has a chance to enter the Parliament. Celebi’s spokesman Musavi said “We have some sensations that we will have at least one chair in the parliament.” [...]

Sunday, January 01, 2006

A delegation from Iraq's main Sunni Arab group planned to meet with senior Kurdish officials Sunday as political factions ponder the options for forming a coalition government. Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a Shiite Arab, also was traveling to Iraq's Kurdish region to meet with regional President Massoud Barzani, the head of one of the two main Kurdish political parties. It was unclear if a three-way meeting between al-Jaafari, Sunnis and Kurds would take place. The visit by a Sunni Arab delegation to Iraq's northern Kurdish region would be the first such trip since the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections, whose results have been contested by Sunni groups and secular parties. The discussions come at a critical time for Iraq, with the United States placing high hopes on forming a broad-based coalition government that will provide the fledgling democracy with the stability and security it needs to allow American troops to begin returning home. [...]