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Allawi edges ahead of al-Maliki in Iraq vote count

Iraqis count and sort votes in Baghdad on Tuesday.
Iraqis count and sort votes in Baghdad on Tuesday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's bloc ahead by about 9,000 votes out of 4.2 million
  • Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's State of Law leads in seven provinces, including two largest
  • Latest figures are based on about 80% of votes cast within Iraq in the March 7 election
  • Still to be counted are votes from army, police force, prisoners, hospital patients, Iraqis abroad

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) -- Former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's bloc has edged ahead of the coalition led by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Iraq's parliamentary vote, but al-Maliki remained ahead in the largest provinces, election officials announced Tuesday.

Allawi's al-Iraqia list was ahead of al-Maliki's State of Law coalition by about 9,000 votes of the more than 4.2 million cast for the two leading slates. But al-Maliki's bloc continues to hold a lead in the expected number of seats in Iraq's parliament since the prime minister is ahead in some of the largest provinces.

State of Law still holds leads in seven of Iraq's 18 provinces, including the two largest: Baghdad, where 68 out of the new parliament's 325 seats are up for grabs, and Nineveh, with 31 seats at stake. Allawi's coalition led in five, in the predominantly Sunni Arab north and west.

The latest figures from the Independent High Electoral Commission are based on about 80 percent of the votes cast within Iraq in the March 7 election. Still to be counted are the remainder of those ballots, plus votes from the country's army and police force, prisoners, hospital patients and 270,000-plus votes from Iraqis living abroad.

Video: Iraqis await election results
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The mostly Shiite Iraqi National Alliance was ahead in three provinces, according to the electoral commission. The coalition is backed by the country's predominantly Shiite neighbor, Iran, and includes controversial secular politician Ahmed Chalabi, as well as some of Iraq's top Shiite religious parties -- including followers of radical anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

An alliance of Iraq's major Kurdish parties led in the three majority-Kurdish provinces in northeastern Iraq.

The latest figures from the Independent High Electoral Commission are based on about 80 percent of the votes cast within Iraq in the March 7 election. About 6,200 candidates from more than 80 political entities were on the ballot for seats in the Council of Representatives, Iraq's parliament, which will choose a new government once seated.

Millions of Iraqis defied the threat of violence to cast ballots, with nearly two out of three eligible voters turning out. At least 38 people were killed in attacks on voting day.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh contributed to this report.

 
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