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Reply #20: Religious Groups Take Early Lead in Iraqi Ballots (those who us out) [View All]

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rodeodance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-20-05 07:27 AM
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20. Religious Groups Take Early Lead in Iraqi Ballots (those who us out)

December 20, 2005

Religious Groups Take Early Lead in Iraqi Ballots

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Dec. 19 - Early voting results announced by Iraqi electoral officials on Monday, with nearly two-thirds of the ballots counted, indicated that religious groups, particularly the main Shiite coalition, had taken a commanding lead. The secular coalition led by Ayad Allawi, the former prime minister, had won only meager support in crucial provinces where it had expected to do well, including Baghdad.

The front-runner among Sunni Arab voters was a religious coalition whose leaders have advocated resistance to the American military and have demanded that President Bush set a timetable for withdrawing the American military from Iraq.

The preliminary results accounted for more than 90 percent of votes cast in 11 of Iraq's 18 provinces. About 7 million ballots have been counted, of an estimated turnout of 11 million in the vote on Thursday for a full, four-year government, electoral officials said.

Officials warned that the results could still change. The Iraqi electoral commission has received 692 complaints of campaign violations or voter fraud, at least 20 of which are considered potentially serious enough to "affect specific election results," said Adel al-Lami, the commission's chief electoral officer. Several candidates, including Mr. Allawi, have angrily accused the main Shiite coalition of underhanded tactics, such as tearing down posters and ordering police officers to campaign for it.
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