Iraqis show up at polls despite wave of insurgent attacks that killed 36 people
Iraqi coalitions and political parties jockeyed Monday for position following the country’s pivotal vote meant to usher in the next government, as the election commission head estimated a turnout of 55 and 60 percent.
Iraqis defied a wave of insurgent attacks that killed 36 people and voted Sunday in key balloting that will determine whether they can overcome deep sectarian divides that almost tore the nation apart. It will also usher in a new government as U.S. forces prepare to leave.
The range given by Faraj al-Haidari, who heads the Independent High Electoral Commission, is down from the previous Dec. 2005 parliamentary election turnout of 76 percent, although it’s higher than last year’s provincial elections when just over half of voters cast ballots.
Al-Haidari told The Associated Press the exact turnout would be released later Monday at a news conference and that the final results would come within a few days, most likely on Thursday.
Even then, the outcome will likely be followed by protracted negotiations on who will make up the next government.
No one coalition is expected to win an outright majority in the 325-seat parliament, so the coalition that gets the largest number of votes will be tasked with cobbling together a government with other partners — a process that could take months.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law coalition said it had done well, especially in Baghdad and the south, and that the group is open to talks with anyone.
“We do not have a veto or a red line against any list, we are open to talks with all,” said the coalition’s Abbas al-Bayati, adding that the list had secured at least 100 of the parliament’s 325 seats.
However, al-Maliki’s faction may be hard-pressed to find negotiating partners after having alienated most of the other groups in the pre-election period.
Many Sunnis appeared to have thrown their weight behind former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi’s Iraqiya alliance, in a calculated political decision to support a Shiite who they thought best able to represent their needs. Allawi is fierce critic of al-Maliki who has said the government needs to do more to bring about reconciliation between the country’s warring sects. His coalition included a number of high-profile Sunni candidates as well.
“We were fooled in the past and we don’t want to be fooled again,” said Abu Abayda Thaamir, a Sunni from Baghdad’s mostly Sunni Azamiyah neighborhood, who said he had no problems voting for a Shiite candidate.
Another key player in the election, Iranian-backed Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, also known as SIIC, that is part of a broad religious Shiite coalition known as Iraqi National Alliance, appeared to have fallen behind although it could still be a kingmaker.
“We cannot make any move about forming coalitions until the results are announced,” said an official with the SIIC, who spoke on condition of anonymity pending official results. But he said the INA coalition fell short of the 90-95 seats expected.
Across Iraq, people were recovering from the elections, taking down campaign posters Monday and burying those who died in the violence. Iraqi security forces lifted an all-night curfew in place to deter attacks and ease movement of ballot boxes to counting stations.
Counting the poll’s complicated ballot — some 6,200 candidates competed for 325 parliamentary seats — will take time.
The election also highlighted the upcoming withdrawal of U.S. troops. Obama has pledged to withdraw all combat troops by end of August and the rest by the end of next year.
Associated Press writers Katarina Kratovac, Qassim Abdul-Zahra, Sinan Salaheddin and Bushra Juhi contributed to this report.
More Related Stories
- Developers evict historic women's shelter to build luxury hotel
- Kaitlyn Hunt refuses plea offer, will go to court over high school relationship
- DHS admits "impossible" to control 3D-printed guns
- Journalists file suit against Manning trial secrecy
- Russia: Syrian regime ready to talk peace
- Report: Nearly a quarter of all Americans struggle to afford food
- Ted Cruz against the world
- Louie Gohmert: Women should be forced to carry nonviable pregnancies to term
- 2 men arrested for endangering commercial aircraft
- Oversized load blamed for bridge collapse
- This is what Guy Fieri looks like as a balloon
- Iran hackers aiming at U.S. energy firms
- Lawyers release data in attempt to discredit Trayvon Martin
- Anonymous rallies behind Kaitlyn Hunt
- Bridge collapse: Part of "aging infrastructure"
- Mistrial in penalty phase of Arias case
- Amanda Bynes arrested after hurling bong from window
- Interstate 5 bridge collapses north of Seattle
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- UK Military: London attack victim was a "model soldier"
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11