Maliki Demands Recount as Party Lead Slips

Iraq boss accuses election panel of tampering
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2010 1:21 AM CDT
Updated Mar 17, 2010 4:27 AM CDT
Qassim al-Aboudi of the Independent High Electoral Commission speaks to reporters in Baghdad yesterday.   (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
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(Newser) – Iraq's prime minister accused the country's election commission of manipulating national vote results and ordered a recount as a rival coalition edged into the lead over his bloc with 79% of of the tally in. Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law coalition is still ahead in the province-by-province count, but challenger Iyed Allawi's secular Iraqiya coalition, favored by Sunnis, has edged ahead in the overall count, the Washington Post reports.

The UN and Iraqi monitoring agencies say that while there may have been some irregularities, there is no evidence of systemic fraud. Analysts say that the close vote means there could be months of coalition-building ahead before one party can form a government, raising fears of renewed sectarian tensions and an increase in violence as US troop numbers drop.

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