03/27/2010, 00.00
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Elections: Allawi wins by slight margin, al-Maliki rejects results

Allawi’s secular party takes 91 seats against 89 for Maliki. The UN declares the elections "a success" and "credible." Open discussions on alliances for the majority. The security challenge: twin attack yesterday in Diyala, with 42 deaths. Withdrawal of U.S. forces by years end.
Baghdad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The secular Iyad Allawi has won the elections in Iraq only two seats ahead of Nouri al-Maliki, leader of the outgoing government, who refuses to recognize the results.   Maliki can appeal until 29 March when the results will be considered definitive. The UN special envoy, Ad Melkert, has called the vote "a success" and "credible", and has asked all parties to "accept the results."
Allawi's Iraqiya bloc won 91 seats, against 89 for Maliki’s Alliance for the Rule of Law, but neither can claim a great victory, both having failed to win a large majority of the 325 seats in parliament.    
Allawi - a secular Shiite backed by Sunnis and Christians - has already opened negotiations to form alliances with other groups. "Iraqiya - he said - will its heart to all political forces and all those who want to build Iraq. We will put to an end together politics based on ethnicity and religion". It is likely that in order to have a majority, Allawi will have to ally himself to the party of Moqtada al-Sadr (Iraqi National Alliance, of the Shiite religious mould), which took 70 seats and the Kurdish group, which won 43 seats.    
Some observers suggest an alliance government between the Allawi and Maliki, to give stability to the country, but the ambitions of both seem to exclude this possibility.    
As a reminder of the fragility of the situation yesterday, just before the announcement of the results, there were two bomb attacks in Diyala, north of the capital, which left 42 people dead and 65 wounded.  
The coalition that emerges will have to resolve the issues that are being debated for some time on in Iraq: federalism and centralism, the distribution of oil revenues, the status of Kirkuk. In addition it will face the problem of security, while U.S. forces are preparing to withdraw by the end of the year.    
Those of 7 March are the second elections since the fall of Saddam Hussein. 63% of voters participated.  
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