Early (and unofficial) projections show Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and allies gaining at the expense of the rival Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council. If this holds though the final count, which will not be available until likely late in the week, it will strengthen the prime minister’s chances in the national elections which will be held later in the year.
Maliki praised the elections as ‘successful,’ and said that Shi’ite dominated Iraq, in voting heavily for his Shi’ite party, “bypassed their religious, sectarian, and ethnic affiliations.”
Yet while the election was relatively unmarred by violence, there was no shortage of complaints as tens of thousands of Iraqis were turned away at polling stations. Nearly 30,000 Kurds in Nineveh and Diyala were deemed ineligible to vote. Even among those who were allowed to vote, the turnout was quite a bit lower than the previous election.