Iraq

Vote Counting Underway in Iraq, Results Not Due for Weeks

vote countingVote counting started in Iraq on Thursday, but with results not due for weeks and forming a new government is expected to take months.

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

Much as was the case following previous elections, forming a government is likely to take months.

Wednesday’s general election, the first since US troops withdrew in late 2011, came amid surge of terrorist attacks carried out by Takfiri militants against Iraqi civilians and security forces.

The bloodletting continued on election day, with 14 people killed, including two election workers in separate attacks. However, the vote was considered relatively peaceful compared with terrorist attacks earlier.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is seeking a third term in power, has said on the election day on Wednesday he is “certain” of victory.

Meanwhile, other Iraqi leaders including Sayyed Muqtada al-Sadr, Sayyed Ammar al-Hakim and Ibrahim al-Jaafari underscored the importance of the elections, pointing out that the following political stage will concentrate on forming a powerful and harmonious government to serve the Iraqis.

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