Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Iraq's Sunni Arabs demand election inquiry

12/20/2005, 5:22 p.m. ET
By ELENA BECATOROS
The Associated Press
 

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) — Sunni Arab and a key secular party charged Tuesday that parliamentary elections were tainted by fraud, and demanded an inquiry into preliminary results showing the governing Shiite religious bloc with a larger than expected lead.

With politicians barely containing their hostility toward each other, the bitter climate raised questions about U.S. hopes that the Dec. 15 vote will lead to a more inclusive government involving Sunni Arabs, the minority group that formed the core of Saddam Hussein's government and is now the backbone of the insurgency.

The complaints focused mainly on Baghdad, Iraq's largest electoral district and one that has large numbers of Sunnis and Shiites. With 89 percent of ballot boxes counted, the Shiite bloc United Iraqi Alliance were leading in the province with about 59 percent of the vote, while the Sunni Arab alliance, the Iraqi Accordance Front, trailed with 19 percent.

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