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Iraq voting results in


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'Final uncertified' results released

 

Sunday, February 13, 2005 Posted: 1:47 PM EST (1847 GMT)

 

An Iraqi shouts support for the al-Sistani Shiite list, after results were announced in Karbala on Sunday.

 

IRAQI ELECTION RESULTS

# Total votes cast: 8.56 million Al-Sistani group: 4.08 million

# Kurdish group: 2.17 million

# Allawi group: 1.17 million

 

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The United Iraq Alliance, backed by Shiite Muslim Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, won a plurality of votes in the January 30 elections but fell short of an outright majority, the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq said Sunday.

 

The results announced are "final uncertified" results -- political parties have three days to file objections before they are certified.

 

"Today this is a new birth for Iraq, a free Iraq, and free people who aim to build a state based on civilized values and democratic values and the principles of peace and love," commission spokesman Fareed Ayar said.

 

Of about 8.56 million votes cast in the election, the UIA received 4.08 million, the combined Kurdish parties garnered 2.17 million and the Iraqi list of Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi got 1.17 million.

 

CNN calculates that those numbers would give the UIA about 130 seats on Iraq's 275-seat National Assembly, the Kurds about 70 seats, and the Iraqi list about 40 seats.

 

A plurality occurs when a party receives more votes than any other but still has not received more than half of the total votes -- a majority.

 

The results suggest the Shiite alliance can only succeed in the assembly by partnering with members of other parties, The Associated Press reported.

 

Meanwhile, the combined Kurdish parties will nominate Patriotic Union of Kurdistan leader Jalal Talabani to be president of Iraq, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh, a member of the Kurdish alliance, told CNN Sunday.

 

Talabani was a member of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council, the predecessor to the interim government that took over on June 28, 2004.

Assembly to draft constitution

 

The National Assembly will draft a constitution, and pick the country's next president and two vice presidents. The president will select a prime minister. (Structure)

 

The constitution must be drafted by August 15 and submitted to a national referendum by October 15.

 

Shiites make up about 60 percent of Iraq's population and were persecuted under the regime of Saddam Hussein, who is a Sunni Muslim.

 

There are concerns the Sunni Arab population -- about 20 percent of Iraq's 25 million people -- will look upon the results as illegitimate. Two influential Sunni groups, the Association of Muslim Scholars and Iraqi Islamic Party, did not participate in the election.

 

The UIA's win was not surprising -- but that it failed to receive a majority of votes was unexpected.

 

The United Iraqi Alliance includes major Shiite parties -- the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the Islamic Dawa Party and the Iraqi National Congress -- as well as other Shiite organizations and some smaller Kurdish, Sunni Muslim and minority groups.

 

Al-Sistanti, the UIA's chief backer, supported the elections and is considered by many to be the most revered and most influential leader among Iraq's 15 million Shiite Muslims. Now in his 70s, he was born in Iran and moved to Iraq to study in Najaf, where Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini spent years of exile. (Full story)

 

The announcement of the election results had been delayed while some ballots were recounted and others were ruled invalid.

Other developments

 

# Gunmen shot and killed two Iraqi army officers and a soldier on Sunday in the northwest Baghdad neighborhood of al-Kadimiya, an Iraqi police officer said. The police official said insurgents ambushed a car carrying Col. Jadaan Ramah Farhan, Col. Hassan Taha Mohammed and Sabri Nameer, a soldier. The police officer said all three victims were wearing civilian clothes at the time of the attack.

 

# Also Sunday, a roadside bomb detonated near a U.S. military convoy in eastern Baghdad, an Iraqi police officer said, wounding three Iraqi civilians.

 

# Elsewhere Sunday, three U.S. soldiers died when their vehicle rolled into a canal near Balad during a combat patrol, the U.S. 1st Infantry Division reported.

 

# A suicide car bomb exploded on Saturday, killing 17 people and wounding at least 26 others at a police checkpoint near a hospital in Musayyib, south of Baghdad, Iraqi police said. Six Iraqi security guards were among the dead, police said.

 

CNN's Enes Dulami, Caroline Faraj and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

 

Other numbers:

 

58% turnout

94,305 ballots were considered "invalid"

 

In the United States, where more than 24,000 Iraqis cast ballots, the alliance was strongest with more than 31 percent, while Allawi's list came in sixth with about 4 percent - finishing not only behind the Kurds but also behind two tiny Assyrian Christian parties and a communist-led party.

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