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Allawi bloc wins most seats in Iraq election - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki attends a conference on the development of urban centers at a hotel in Baghdad on March 22, 2010 (AFP)

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki attends a conference on the development of urban centers at a hotel in Baghdad on March 22, 2010 (AFP)

BAGHDAD, (Reuters) – Secularist challenger Iyad Allawi’s coalition won the most seats in Iraq’s parliamentary election with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki running a close second, according to preliminary results released on Friday.

Allawi’s cross-sectarian Iraqiya coalition won 91 seats to 89 seats for Maliki’s State of Law bloc.

The tight race and Allawi’s strong support in Sunni-dominated northern provinces raised the prospect of long and potentially divisive talks on forming a new government.

The Iraqi National Alliance, a Shi’ite grouping whose leaders have close ties to neighbouring Iran, came third with 70 seats, according to the full preliminary results released by the Independent High Electoral Commission, 19 days after the parliamentary election.

Underscoring the tensions in Iraq, two bombs killed at least 42 people and wounded 65 others in the town of Khalis, in Iraq’s northern Diyala province, shortly before the results were announced.

Iraq's former prime minister and head of the Iraqi National Movement, Iyad Allawi, shows his ink-stained finger after casting his vote at a polling station in the Green Zone in Baghdad, on March 7, 2010 (AFP)

Iraq’s former prime minister and head of the Iraqi National Movement, Iyad Allawi, shows his ink-stained finger after casting his vote at a polling station in the Green Zone in Baghdad, on March 7, 2010 (AFP)

An Iraqi army helicopter hovers over Baghdad on March 26, 2010 ahead of announcing the general election final results (AFP)

An Iraqi army helicopter hovers over Baghdad on March 26, 2010 ahead of announcing the general election final results (AFP)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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