Iraq Election: Iyad Allawi's Bloc Wins Most Seats
The secularist Iraqiya coalition led by Iyad Allawi, the former premier, won the most seats in Iraq's March 7 parliamentary election, two more than incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's bloc.
Iraqiya won 91 seats in the 325-member Council of Representatives, while Maliki's State of Law Alliance won 89 seats, the independent electoral commission said on Friday.
The Iraqi National Alliance, a coalition of mostly Shia religious groups, came third with 70 seats. Kurdistania, comprised of the autonomous Kurdish region's two long-dominant blocs - the Kurdish Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, won 43 seats.
Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught reporting from Baghdad says the list with the largest seats will be given "a first shot" to form a government which must hold at least a majority of 163 seats in the council.
According to the Iraqi constitution, if Allawi fails to do so within 30 days, the Iraqi president, who is elected by parliament, will designate the leader of another political list to form a coalition government.
Following the results announcement, Allawi pledged to "work with all sides" to form a coalition government.
Maliki disputes results
However, in a press conference carried by Iraqi networks, Maliki said that the election results announced were "not final" and rejected the outcome.
"We still insist for a manual recount of votes ... We cannot accept these results while we suspect them," Maliki said.
"We want to build our country on a clear and transparent elections therefore the electoral commission must seriously respond to our demand."
Meanwhile, the US embassy in Iraq issued a statement supporting the election results and calling on all political factions to work together.
"We support the findings of international and independent Iraqi observers, who have affirmed their confidence in the overall integrity of the election and have found that there is no evidence of widespread or serious fraud," the statement said.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies