Maliki takes Basra, Baghdad in final election results

Allies of Iraqi PM Maliki won control of Basra after winning 20 out of 36 provincial council seats in local elections last month, electoral authorities said.

Maliki takes Basra, Baghdad in final election results

Allies of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki won control of the southern oil hub of Basra after winning 20 out of 36 provincial council seats in local elections last month, electoral authorities said on Thursday.

Six of the seats allocated to Maliki's State of Law coalition were assigned to women, Usama al-Ani, deputy head of the independent electoral commission, told a news conference.

The Jan. 31 election to pick regional councils in 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces was the most peaceful vote in the country since the 2003 U.S.-led occupation.

Maliki emerged as a surprisingly strong winner after his allies trounced his Shi'ite Muslim rivals across much of the south, performing particularly well in Basra, which includes Iraq's most productive oil fields, and the capital Baghdad.

Maliki pushed for a strong centralised, and unified, state, while other parties campaigned using overtly religious or sectarian themes.

In the western province of Anbar, Sunni tribal chiefs came first in the vote, the electoral agency said.

In the northern province of Nineveh a Sunni party won the most seats, the council also confirmed. Sunnis had been largely excluded from power in Nineveh after boycotting the last provincial election in 2005 and their resentment had fuelled the violence.

Preliminary election results had already pointed to a victory in Basra for Maliki's coalition, giving it 37 percent of ballots cast. It was not immediately clear how the coalition ended up with more than 50 percent of council seats although the seat allocation process was a complicated one.

The seat allocation for Baghdad had not yet been read out.

Reuters

Last Mod: 20 Şubat 2009, 15:39
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