Iraq Releases Election Results

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Iraqi election commission officials on Sunday announced the final results from the country's landmark Jan. 30 balloting, and the majority Shiites claimed to have won more than 50 percent of the vote.

The officials did not immediately provide overall vote totals for the country, instead giving province-by-province figures in the balloting for 275 National Assembly seats.

However, they said only 3,775 valid votes were cast in the insurgency-plagued Sunni province of Anbar.

The results released Sunday will not be certified for three days, officials said. The balloting was the first free election in Iraq in more than 50 years and the first since Saddam Hussein was ousted from power after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

There has been no letup in the attacks by Sunni insurgents since the election.

Partial returns released early this week showed a Kurdish coalition was in second place, and the ticket headed by pro-U.S. interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi was trailing in a distant third.

Ahmad Chalabi, the man accused of feeding the United States exaggerated reports on Saddam Hussein's supposed weapons of mass destruction, is all but assured of a senior spot in Iraq's new government because of the election results, the New York Times reports.

Many Sunni Arabs are believed to have boycotted the election, either out of fear of insurgent attacks or opposition to a vote with thousands of U.S. and foreign soldiers on Iraqi soil. The Sunnis make up roughly 20 percent of Iraq's population, but held a position of privilege under Saddam Hussein.

In other developments:

  • On Saturday, a car bomb outside a hospital killed 17 people and injured 21 others in the mostly Shiite town Musayyib, 35 miles south of Baghdad.
  • U.S. troops backed by tanks battled rebels in Mosul, the country's third largest city. The insurgents disabled a U.S. Army tank and a Stryker armored vehicle during the battle, which raged for hours around the mosque. U.S. troops killed nine insurgents but suffered no fatalities, the U.S. military said. A woman died when a mortar round hit her house during the fighting, and another person was killed when a bomb exploded in another part of Mosul, hospital officials said.
  • Earlier Saturday, police in Mosul discovered the bodies of 12 men — six dressed in Iraqi National Guard uniforms and the others Kurdish security guards — dumped in two areas of the city. Notes left near the bodies of the Iraqi guardsmen said, "This is the destiny for those who participated in besieging Fallujah," referring to last November's U.S.-led assault on the insurgent bastion 40 miles west of Baghdad.
  • In Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, two gunmen assassinated a prominent Iraqi judge who served under Saddam Hussein. The judge, Taha al-Amiri, was the former chief jurist on Basra's highest criminal court and was among several former Baath Party figures murdered in the city over the past 18 months. Suspicion has fallen on Shiite extremists seeking revenge for Saddam's oppression of the majority Shiite community.
  • Police found the bodies of a Sunni Muslim imam, who worked for an endowment that handles funds for mosques, and his son on a highway southeast of Baghdad. It was unclear whether the attacks were reprisal killings by Shiites seeking revenge for insurgent attacks on their community.
  • A roadside bomb blasted an American military convoy, killing an Iraqi bystander but causing no U.S. casualties, a police official in the town of Youssifiyah said.
  • A car bomb exploded in an eastern Baghdad neighborhood as a U.S. military convoy passed, killing an Iraqi woman and wounding three others but causing no American casualties, Iraqi police said. The bomb exploded about a half mile from a U.S. Army base.

    Voters last month chose a 275-member National Assembly and ruling councils in the 18 provinces. Iraqis living in Kurdish-ruled areas of northern Iraq also elected a new regional parliament.

    The new assembly will elect a president and two vice presidents, who in turn will choose a prime minister, who will form a government subject to the legislature's approval.