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Iraq Transition

U.N. envoy: Iraq elections a 'success'

Still, election officials look into scores of voting complaints

Programming Note: CNN's Anderson Cooper will report live from Iraq this week on the country's historic election. His reports will air at 10 p.m. ET (0300 GMT).



  • The newly elected parliament will convene to elect a president and two deputies from among its members.

  • The president will then nominate a prime minister for parliament's approval.

  • The new constitution goes into effect as soon as the new parliament is seated.

    • Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
    • Interactive: Sectarian divide



    BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- As election officials in Iraq counted ballots and looked into polling violation complaints Friday, the senior U.N. envoy there said Iraq upheld proper international election standards.

    "Anecdotal evidence shows that there has been a good turnout, that it was inclusive and that security was well maintained," said Ashraf Qazi, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special representative. "These are all good measures of success."

    His comments were released in a U.N. statement.

    Final results from Thursday's historic election likely won't be available for "two weeks or more," said Farid Ayar, spokesman for the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq.

    An official with the electoral commission said Friday that 12 of the nation's 6,246 polling centers did not open on election day because of security concerns.

    The official said they were located in restive Anbar province, where Sunnis are dominant.

    Complaints of violations

    Although election day proved relatively calm, Iraqis have issued scores of complaints of election violations, said Izadin al-Mohammedy, an Iraqi elections official.

    They include the destruction of posters, the conduct of electoral employees and campaign violence.

    The deputy commander of the Iraqi joint forces reported 19 incidents at polling centers across Iraq.

    Lt. Gen. Nasser Abadi, said, however, that Iraqis have been "dreaming" about such an electoral process, and he praised the performance of Iraqi security forces for what he considered smooth elections.

    "The people have spoken, and the democratic process will be something on our side," Abadi told CNN's "American Morning."

    He credited military operations in the west for hampering insurgent efforts to find safe haven and establish communications. Such efforts have also helped forces capture and kill insurgents, he said.

    Participation reported high

    Although no definitive numbers have emerged on voter turnout, anecdotal evidence from witnesses, U.S. and Iraqi officials indicates participation was high, even in Sunni Arab-dominated areas, like Anbar province. (Watch report on how election day went -- 2:00)

    The U.S. military reported that in Ramadi, Anbar's provincial seat, tens of thousands of people lined up to vote, as compared with October's constitutional vote when several thousand voted. CNN cannot confirm those numbers.

    Such heavy turnout from the Sunnis was expected to give a boost to the Iraq Accord Front coalition and other Sunni political entities.

    Expected to fare particularly well in the election are the ruling coalitions during the transitional period -- the Shiite-led United Iraqi Alliance and the Kurdish bloc.

    Outside Iraq, thousands of Iraqi expatriates in 15 countries -- including the United States -- also voted over the past three days.

    U.S. President George W. Bush complimented Iraqis on what he called a "major milestone" and for not being deterred by insurgent violence.

    Minor violence

    Only scattered election-day violence was reported. An explosion caused two deaths -- an Iraqi soldier and a civilian -- in Baquba in Diyala province.

    On election eve in Ramadi, a bomb killed a U.S. Marine assigned to the 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward). The death brought the number of U.S. troops killed in the Iraq war to 2,152.

    The U.S. military said two 127 mm rockets were fired in central Baghdad Thursday morning, one of them landing behind a polling station. Three people were wounded.

    At four different Sadr City polling stations in eastern Baghdad, three armed terrorists were blamed for harassing voters, election officials said.

    Nonetheless, one volunteer poll worker in Baquba deemed it "a special day."

    "It's the beginning of our new life," said Buthana Mehdi, a schoolteacher. (Watch the interview with the poll worker -- 5:31)

    CNN's Nic Robertson, Kevin Flower, Aneesh Raman, Arwa Damon, Joe Sterling and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

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