Secular leader pulls ahead in Iraq's partial voting count

16:43, March 17, 2010      

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A combination photo of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki(L) and former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)

Former prime minister Ayad Allawi made a slender lead over the incumbent Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki for the first time in the country's partial results of parliamentary elections.

Allawi's Iraqia bloc took the lead with about 9,000 votes over Maliki's State of Law coalition in the overall count of the roughly 79 percent of ballots cast announced late Tuesday out of about 12 million votes of the March 7 polls.

However, the rivals on Wednesday are keeping their eyes watching the remaining count of about 20 percent of the elections votes that may either widen Allawi's margin or reverse the balance.

With the 79 percent of the votes count of Iraq's 18 provinces, Maliki appeared winning in six Shiite southern provinces and Baghdad, the largest constituency with 70 seats, but he failed to lead in three other Shiite southern provinces which were won by his rival Shiite Iraqi National Alliance (INA).

Allawi, on the other hand, made a strong appearance in four of Iraq's Sunni provinces and pulled ahead in the fifth, Kirkuk, where he was close to the rival Kurdish bloc which prevailed in the three Kurdish provinces in the semi-autonomous region in northern Iraq.

On March 7, some 62.4 percent of more than 18 million eligible voters turned out in some 8,920 polling centers across the country to vote for the 325-seat Iraqi Council of Representatives out of some 6,300 candidates.

Source: Xinhua
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