BAGHDAD, (Reuters) – A leader in the main Sunni Arab alliance that contested Thursday”s Iraqi election said on Saturday it had been a success, citing only a few cases of ballot violations.
"The election process succeeded … Thank God there were only a few cases in a huge country where there is death and violence," Adnan al-Dulaimi, a candidate in the Iraqi Accordance Front, list 618, told a news conference.
Sunnis, who were sidelined from power this year after boycotting an election in January that swept Shi”ites and Kurds to power, voted in large numbers on Thursday hoping to gain influence in the new parliament.
The U.S.-backed government has been trying to lure the minority sect into peaceful politics in a bid to undermine the largely Sunni insurgency.
Unlike bloodshed in the January election, insurgents urged Iraqis to vote this time and promised to protect them.
"The resistance did not allow any side to interfere and they stuck by their promise and we thank them in the name of the Iraqi Accordance Front," said Dulaimi, one of the fiercest critics of the Iraqi government and U.S. occupation.
He said his alliance would ask for a recount of votes in areas where there were violations.
Final results of the polls are not expected for at least two weeks, electoral officials said.