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]

Friday, February 10, 2006

AP: Iraq's conservative Shiite United Iraqi Alliance was confirmed as the winner of December's elections, paving the way for the opening of parliament and forming a new government.Chief election commissioner Adel al-Lami read the final certified results of the polls, which were unchanged from provisional ones announced on January 20. Friday's figures for the 275-member parliament gave 128 seats to the conservative Shiite alliance, 53 to the Kurdish Alliance, and 80 to the Joint Council for National Action, an allinace of Sunni and secular groups. The remainder were shared by small parties, most representing ethnic minorities. Boosted by its own results and by the support of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr and two MPs close to him, the Shiite alliance, which is dominated by religious parties, will select its prime ministerial candidate Saturday. The two main competitors are current Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari of the Dawa Party and Adel Abdel Mahdi of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). Political parties had filed 24 complaints against the results, which were examined by the Transitional Electoral Panel. Lami said "these did not change the results." The new parliament, which will have more than 25 percent women MPs, is expected to convene within the next 15 days.