Vote counting has continued apace in Iraq, and over a week after the election roughly two thirds of the votes have now been counted. The verdict so far is a narrow lead for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law bloc, with former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi’s Iraqiya bloc still nipping at his heels.
But it wouldn’t be an election in the region without allegations of massive voter fraud and, perhaps unsurprisingly, those allegations are being increasingly confirmed by independent parties.
Election monitors now say that the Iraqi army was out in force on election day, and if that is unsurprising given the security situation, the fact that they were inside the voting centers, telling the public who to vote for, should give some pause to the Obama Administration’s praise of Iraq’s election as a great victory for democracy.
State of Law still seems to be doing quite well in the Shi’ite dominated areas of Iraq, while the more secular Iraqiya seems to be performing surprisingly well in Sunni Arab regions. The end to the count is still likely more than a week off, however, and until the number of seats each bloc has won is announced it is unclear how easily any group will find a path to forming a coalition government.
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