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Iraq Certifies Election Results

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 17, 2005 – It's official: the Shiite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance carried Iraq's Jan. 30 elections and will claim the most seats in Iraq's new national assembly.

The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq certified the election results today and announced the results during a news conference in Baghdad.

According to press reports, the United Iraqi Alliance received 48 percent of the vote. A predominantly Kurdish alliance took 25 percent of the votes, and the group led by interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi received just under 14 percent of the vote.

Official Iraqi confirmation of the results was unavailable at press time, and U.S. officials would not confirm the reported results, saying the Iraqis should be the ones to release the details.

Election officials avoided saying exactly how the vote will translate into seats in the national assembly, until a three-day window to register complaints expires.

Once formed, the national assembly will draft the new Iraqi constitution and elect a president and two vice presidents. They, in turn, will name a prime minister, and a variety of names are being circulated about the most likely choice.

During a news conference today nominating Ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte as the U.S. director of national intelligence, President Bush called the political positioning now taking place in Iraq a "healthy" example of a new democracy in progress

"It's inspiring to see a fledgling democracy begin to take wing right here in the 21st century in a part of the world where people didn't think there could be progress," he said. "I think there can be progress, and we'll continue to work that progress."

When the provisional results of the election were announced Feb. 13, Bush congratulated "every candidate who stood for election and those who will take office once the results are certified."

The president expressed additional praise for the 8 million Iraqis who voted "for defying terrorist threats and setting their country on the path of democracy and freedom." He said the United States and its coalition partners "can all take pride in our role in making that great day possible."

During a Feb. 16 briefing to the United Nations Security Council, the under- secretary general for political affairs said nobody could fail to have been moved by the courage, determination and confidence Iraqis demonstrated as they went to the polls Jan. 30.

Kieran Predergast called the elections a significant development in Iraq's transition to democratic government and expressed hope that the new transitional government will be inclusive and reflect Iraqi society.

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