Al-Maliki regains provisional lead in Iraqi elections
The State of Law coalition of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has regained a narrow lead in Iraq's general election after 83 per cent of votes have been counted, satellite channel al-Arabiya reported Thursday.
The development came amidst ongoing allegations of fraud by al- Maliki's State of Law coalition, which has seen its lead narrow to just 40,000 votes, according to partial results, DPA reported.
The coalition had requested a recount of votes after reports emerged Wednesday that it had lost its overall lead to former premier Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya list, saying the count had been tampered with.
But the request was turned down by the electoral commission.
The State of Law coalition is believed to be leading in seven provinces, including Baghdad - by far the most important in the race.
Allawi's Iraqiya follows by leading in five provinces.
The chaotic and protracted process of announcing the results has compounded suspicions of fraud in the vote count.
Forouq Abdullah, a candidate with the State of Law coalition, told the German Press Agency dpa that the electoral commission's announcement of partial results "was ineffective, made everyone confused and led to conflicting accounts."
"The commission should have just announced complete and final results. The coalition has requested an investigation into this matter," he said.
The March 7 elections for the 325-seat legislature, the second since the 2003 US-led invasion, are seen as a key test of the country's stability ahead of the planned withdrawal of US troops.
The Iraqi electoral commission says it expects to publish final results of the ballot in a "few days."