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Iraq Transition

Iraq to announce election results Sunday

Baghdad suicide car bomb kills 17

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A suicide car bomb at a police checkpoint kills at least 17 people.

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- As violence continued near the Iraqi capital Saturday, the chairman of the Independent Election Commission of Iraq said results of the January 30 elections will be announced Sunday afternoon.

The IECI will hear complaints regarding the outcome before it certifies the results, Abdul Hussain al-Hindawi told CNN.

The announcement of the vote for a 275-member transitional National Assembly and 18 provincial councils had been delayed while some ballots were recounted and others were ruled invalid.

The National Assembly will draft a constitution, and pick the country's next president and two vice presidents. The president will select a prime minister. (Structure)

The constitution must be drafted by August 15 and submitted to a national referendum by October 15.

Two weeks ago, voters chose from 111 political entities, and seats will be distributed to each slate based on the proportion of total votes that it received. For example, a slate that received 20 percent of the vote would receive 55 seats in the 275-member assembly.

A coalition led by the nation's top Shiite clerics, including Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, led during early returns and is expected to win a plurality of seats.

Preliminary results from the Shiite south released February 4 indicated the region voted for the United Iraqi Alliance endorsed by al-Sistani over interim prime minister Ayad Allawi and his U.S.-backed Iraqi List.

The United Iraqi Alliance includes major Shiite parties -- the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the Islamic Dawa Party and the Iraqi National Congress -- as well as other Shiite organizations and some smaller Kurdish, Sunni Muslim and minority groups.

Officials cautioned at the time that results were preliminary.

There are concerns the Sunni Arab population -- about 20 percent of Iraq's 25 million people -- will look upon the results as illegitimate. Two influential Sunni groups, the Association of Muslim Scholars and Iraqi Islamic Party, boycotted the election.

Musayyib car bomb

A suicide car bomb exploded at a police checkpoint near a hospital in a town south of Baghdad, killing 17 people and wounding at least 26, according to Iraqi police.

Six Iraqi security guards were among those who died in the blast Saturday, police said.

It happened in the town of Musayyib, which is near Hilla in Babil province south of Baghdad, police said.

In Basra, southern Iraq, gunmen riding a motorcycle assassinated a prominent Iraqi judge and seriously wounded two bodyguards Saturday morning, Iraqi police said.

Judge Taha al-Basri was the chief judge of Basra's highest criminal court under the regime of Saddam Hussein, but he was demoted to "normal" judge under the new government, according to an Iraqi government spokesman.

Iraqi police speculated that al-Basri was targeted for assassination because he continued to work with the new government.

Also Saturday, the bodies of six Iraqi national guardsmen were found along a highway in the northern city of Mosul, according to Iraqi police.

The men, all dressed in civilian clothes, were shot in their chests and heads and left on the main highway in the Intisar section of eastern Mosul, the official said.

Their identification tags were placed on their chests, and one body had a note that read "These are Iraqi national guards who participated in the offensive against the Falluja people."

The attacks followed another bloody day in Iraq as insurgents on Friday attacked three apparent Shiite Muslim targets in central Iraq, killing at least 21 people, police said.

A suicide car bomb detonated near a Shiite mosque northeast of Baghdad during daily prayers, killing at least 12 people and wounding 23 others, Iraqi police said.

The mosque bombing -- in the town of Balad Ruz in Diyala province -- killed four Iraqi national guardsmen and eight civilians. Most of the wounded also were civilians, police said.

Gunmen also targeted two bakeries in a Shiite neighborhood in southern Baghdad, killing nine workers, Iraqi police said.

About a dozen gunmen emerged from two vehicles parked in front of the shops and opened fire, authorities said. Five workers were killed in one bakery and four in the other.

Shiites make up about 60 percent of Iraq's population and were persecuted under the regime of Saddam, a Sunni. Many insurgent attacks have been concentrated in Iraq's so-called Sunni Triangle west of Baghdad, where much of the nation's Sunni population lives.

CNN's Enes Dulami, Caroline Faraj and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

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