Mon, Feb 14, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Shiite alliance short of majority

IRAQ Whilst the United Iraqi Alliance took 48 percent of the vote, it fell short of a majority of seats in the new parliament. US favorite Ayad Allawi showed poorly

AGENCIES , Baghdad

An Iraqi father and his son are seen yesterday next to posters celebrating Iraq's historical general elections on Jan. 30, in a Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad.

PHOTO: AFP

A Shiite-dominated ticket won the Jan. 30 elections for the National Assembly, winning over 4 million votes -- or about 48 percent -- of the ballots cast, officials said Sunday.

A Kurdish alliance finished second with 2.175 million votes or 26 percent. The list led by US-backed Prime Minister Ayad Allawi won about 1.168 million votes -- or 13.8.

Officials said 8.456 million votes were distributed among the 111 candidate lists. More than 94,000 votes were declared invalid. Overall turnout was 58 percent.

The results indicate the Shiites will have to form alliances within the National Assembly to push through their agenda and select a president and prime minister. The president and two vice presidents must be elected by a two-thirds majority.

Earlier, the head of the Shiite party, Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, had predicted his United Iraqi Alliance would win over 60 percent of the vote.

However, the results point to a major victory for the country's long oppressed Shiite majority, oppressed under Saddam Hussein and deprived of national power since the establishment of the modern Iraqi state after World War I.

The figures also indicate that many Sunni Arabs stayed at home on election day -- with only 17,893 votes -- or two percent -- cast in Anbar province in the National Assembly race, a stronghold of the Sunni Muslim insurgency.

In Ninevah province, which includes the third largest city Mosul, only 17 percent of the voters participated in the National Assembly race and 14 percent voted in the provincial council contests.

A ticket headed by the country's president Ghazi al-Yawer, a Sunni Arab, won only about 150,000 votes -- less than 2 percent. A list headed by Sunni elder statesman Adnan Pachachi took only 12,000 votes -- or 0.1 percent.

The election commission said parties have three days to lodge complaints before the results are considered official. Officials said they would be unable to determine exactly how many seats each ticket won until after the count is finalized after three days.

Pachachi told Al-Arabiya television that it was clear that "a big number of Iraqis" didn't take part in the election and "there are a some who are not correctly and adequately represented in the National Assembly," meaning his fellow Sunni Arabs.

"However, the elections are correct and a first step and we should concentrate our attention to drafting the constitution which should be written by all Iraqi factions in preparation for wider elections."

MORE BLOODSHED

The bodies of two men who worked with Allawi's party were found in a rebellious district of Baghdad yesterday, police said. In the northwest of the capital, gunmen assassinated two senior Iraqi army officers and their driver. The al-Qaeda network in Iraq claimed responsibility for the attack.

In the town of Baquba northeast of Baghdad, assailants shot dead a Communist party member who was also a local councillor.

In Mosul, a rocket attack on the city hall building killed at least two people, hospital officials said.

On Saturday, a suicide car bomb killed 18 people in Musayyib, a mixed Sunni and Shiite town south of Baghdad

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