Vote recount gives boost to Iraq's Iyad Allawi

A cross-sectarian coalition led by secularist former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi held its two-seat win in Iraq's March 7 election after a recount of votes cast in Baghdad, elections officials said yesterday.

But the poll victory of Mr Allawi's Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc, confirmed by an 11-day manual recount of 2.5 million votes cast in Baghdad, stood on shaky ground as Iraq's two key Shia coalitions have announced an alliance to form the largest bloc in parliament. Iraqiya won 91 seats, edging out the mainly Shia State of Law coalition led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, with 89.

"I hope that all the political entities calm down,"a spokesman for the electoral commission said. "The process has no defect and all the claims of fraud were not right."

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