Tensions somewhat subsided early on Sunday morning in Sulaimaniya despite continued complaints of electoral fraud. The fighting centered on the Gorran party headquarters where security forces associated with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan gathered and surrounded the building. The two groups exchanged gunfire during the night, but no casualties were reported. Sulaimaniya is the heart of the P.U.K.’s political power; however, opposition groups expected a stronger showing after Kurdistan’s failed attempt at gaining greater independence last year, which many blamed on a rivalry between the P.U.K. and the Kurdistan Democratic Party. Many voters are also crying fraud. Nearby in Kirkuk, the P.U.K. also performed well, even in Arab districts, causing Kirkuk Governor Rakan Saed al-Jabouri to claim that the P.U.K.’s exceptional performance in Kirkuk could not be possible.
Although there are reports that Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s Victory Alliance won 60 of 329 parliamentary seats, the real winner may be Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Months of anti-corruption demonstrations appear to have netted the cleric’s Sa’iroun (Moving Forward) List first or second place in the 10 provinces, including Baghdad, where results have already been released. If Sadr’s list acquires sufficient seats, Abadi may have to form an alliance with the group. Some sources suggest that Abadi’s party is actually in third place behind Shi’ite militia leader Hadi al-Amiri’s bloc.
Meanwhile, Vice President Ayad Allawi called on the election results to be vacated and an emergency provisional government set in place. He gave several reasons as to why the election needs to be done over. Several other Arab lists demanded recounts.
At least eight people were killed, and four were wounded:
Two people were killed and a third injured when explosives were detonated in Badush. The target was apparently an ambulance.
A policeman was killed in a bombing near Khanaqin.
In Rashad, security forces killed three militants.
Read more by Margaret Griffis
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