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Vote counting underway in Iraq, results not due for weeks

Published on May 1, 2014 5:39 PM
 
 Election commission officials count votes at the Khabat polling station north of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk on April 30, 2014. Vote counting is under way on Thursday following Iraq's relatively peaceful elections, but with results not due for weeks and parties bitterly divided, forming a new government is expected to take months.  -- PHOTO: AFP

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Vote counting is under way on Thursday following Iraq's relatively peaceful elections, but with results not due for weeks and parties bitterly divided, forming a new government is expected to take months.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is seeking a third term in power, has said he is "certain" of victory but to retain the top job, he must court disaffected parties within his own Shiite community, as well as Sunnis and Kurds who have angrily voiced opposition to his rule.

Many ordinary Iraqis, meanwhile, have voiced frustration with a marked deterioration in security, rampant corruption, high unemployment and what critics of the government say is insufficient improvement in public services.

Preliminary results from Wednesday's elections are not expected for at least two weeks. Initial figures from the election commission said nearly 60 per cent of Iraq's 20 million eligible voters cast ballots. Turnout in the last election in 2010 was 62 per cent.

 
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