In Iraqi vote anti-US Sadr gains, pro-US Kurds suffer


Press TV
March 25, 2010

The Iraqi Kurds, the major US ally in the country appear to have lost influence to one of the most anti-American groups that did quite well in Iraq’s parliamentary elections.

The Shia Sadr group, a leading Iraqi movement that fervently countered American occupation in the country, is expected to win enough votes to play a key role in determining the winning alliance that is to form the next administration in Iraq, according to a Wednesday article in prominent US daily, The Washington Post.

On the other hand, the “staunchly pro-American” Kurdistan Alliance, as described by the daily, has been undermined by divisions among Kurdish voters and according to preliminary figures, is not expected to do so well, although they will still be in a position to play a major role to decide which political alliance will emerge victorious.

The Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law bloc and secularist Ayad Allawi’s Iraqiya alliance are the main rivals in forming a coalition government.

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The prime minister’s party is reported to be in discussions with Sadr’s group to establish a governing coalition.

Nouri al-Maliki met Wednesday for the first time with members of Muqtada al- Sadr’s Iraqi National Alliance (INA).

While exact results of the parliamentary elections have not been released yet, the coalition could gain a vast majority in the next Iraqi parliament and decide the formation of the next government in Baghdad.

The complete results of Iraqi elections are to be released on Friday with none of the leading blocs expected to win enough seats to form a government on its own. Meanwhile, 95 percent of the votes counted so far show al-Maliki’s State of Law in a virtual dead heat with Allawi’s coalition.

“There has been more than one meeting with INA to reach a deal to form an alliance or merge both coalitions,” Sami al-Askari, a prominent member of Maliki’s party, told Reuters.

In the meantime, the strength of the Kurdistan alliance in the next parliament has been thrown into doubt as the Alliance, made up of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdish Democratic Party, lost seats in the ethnically mixed provinces of Diyala and Nineveh.

In another development, hundreds of people supporting the al-Maliki’s party took to the streets of Basra on Wednesday to demand a manual recount of Iraq’s March 7 election.

Hundreds of people had also took to the streets of the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala a few days ago to protest the results which gave Maliki’s main rival, Allawi a slim lead in a tight electoral race.

Over the weekend, the national election commission rebuffed Maliki’s demand for a manual recount of the ballots cast, arguing that since no widespread electoral fraud has been observed, a recount is not warranted.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the heads of 10 provincial councils called for the election commission to authorize a recount of the votes due to the possibility of fraud “and manipulation of the election results.”


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