Kurds and Shiites share bulk of vote

Preliminary results released from ballots cast by expatriate Iraqis and an early vote carried out for soldiers, hospital patients and prisoners, showed a coalition of Kurdish parties and the main Shiite religious bloc each taking about a third of the vote.

The results released by the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq showed the Kurdistan Coalition List with 36.56% of the vote, the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance winning 30.28%, former Shiite Prime Minister Ayad Allawi’s secular Iraqi National List garnering 11.10% and the main Sunni Arab Iraqi Accordance Front taking 4.85% of the vote. Smaller parties split the remainder.

The IECI said 482,450 valid votes were cast in 15 countries and in special polling stations set up on December 12 for soldiers, patients and detainees.

It added that 31,000 expatriate votes were being reviewed and said there were reports of fraud at three polling centres in Istanbul, Turkey. It did not say if the ballots under review were in Turkey.

“The report we received from international observers was that there was fraud in three centres in Istanbul. The chief of the IECI mission in Jordan has sent a delegation to Istanbul. We will take a decision when the report is submitted,” said IECI official Farid Ayar.

There were 15 million eligible voters in Iraq and 70% cast ballots in the December 15 elections.

The expatriate and early election votes will be added to a national total and help elect 45 of the parliament’s 275 members.

Iraqis do not vote for individual candidates, but instead for lists – or tickets – that compete for the seats in each of the 18 provinces.

Each list corresponds to the seats represented in parliament for each province. This province-by-province voting will determine 230 of the seats.

The remaining 45 will be decided nationwide. All votes cast will be added up and divided by 275 to provide a national threshold number. Any tickets which receive more votes than that threshold gets elected. This provision is designed to help small and medium-sized tickets win representation.

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