Alexa

Iraqi election results closer to being certified

Iraqi election results closer to being certified

Iraq's election commission on Wednesday sent the final results of the March 7 elections to the Supreme Court for certification, which could clear a major obstacle to forming the new government after weeks of delay.
The results of the country's election have been in dispute for nearly three months, heightening tensions in Iraq's fragile democracy at a time when American forces are preparing to go home.
Commission spokesman Qassim al-Abboudi said the election body sent the results to the court after rejecting a number of last-minute appeals by candidates.
There is no deadline for the court to certify the results, but U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill, speaking to reporters Wednesday, said he anticipated that it would be soon.
"Iraq very much needs a functioning parliament, and they've now gone almost three months without one and for these reasons and others, they really need to pick up the pace and put together a new government. I think there's a growing sentiment among Iraqi people that it's time to move on," the ambassador said.
A number of factors have delayed the ability of election officials to send the results to the court until now.
Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose political bloc came in second behind a Sunni-backed coalition, demanded a recount of the Baghdad votes, which took almost two weeks but resulted in no significant change to the outcome.
And challenges by a committee tasked with vetting candidates for ties to the Saddam Hussein regime to dozens of candidates _ some who actually won seats _ further lengthened the process.
The Sunni-backed bloc, Iraqiya, won 91 seats in the 325-member parliament to al-Maliki's 89 seats, but both sides fell far short of the 163 seats needed to form a majority.
An alliance of al-Maliki's bloc and another Shiite group _ which together are just four seats short of a majority _ is now the front-runner to form the next government. However, struggles within the new alliance over who will be their nominee for prime minister have raised questions about its viability.
The grand Shiite alliance has also raised questions about what role, if any, Sunnis would have in a new government.
But Hill said he expected Sunnis to have a significant role in the next government.
"They (Sunnis) need to play a substantial role befitting the results of the election," he said.
"Everyone knows that at the end of the day this government is going to involve substantial Kurdish and substantial Sunni participation."
___
Associated Press writer Mazin Yahya contributed to this report.