Atentie, "pacifisti", acesta este ultimul avertisment, puneti-va rapid tichiile 
de folie Alu, urmeaza un comunicat neoconservator cu efecte daunatoare pentru 
creierele bine spalate. 

3..., 2..., 1...

Shiite Ticket Has Big Lead in Iraq Vote

      1 hour, 28 minutes ago  

By MARIAM FAM, Associated Press Writer 

BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S.-backed Prime Minister Ayad Allawi was trailing a Shiite 
ticket with ties to Iran in Iraq (news - web sites)'s historic election, 
according to partial returns released Friday. One U.S. soldier was killed and 
seven wounded in the north, and gunmen seized an Italian journalist in Baghdad. 

The United Iraqi Alliance, endorsed by Iraq's top Shiite clerics, captured more 
than two-thirds of the 3.3 million votes counted so far, the election 
commission said. The ticket headed by Allawi, a secular Shiite, had about 18 
percent - or more than 579,700 votes. 

Those latest partial figures from Sunday's contest for 275 National Assembly 
seats came from 10 of Iraq's 18 provinces, said Hamdiyah al-Husseini, an 
election commission official. All 10 provinces have heavy Shiite populations, 
and the Alliance had been expected to do well there. So far, 45 percent of the 
vote has been counted in Baghdad, with varying percentages tallied in the other 
nine provinces. 

Nevertheless, the huge lead that the Shiites were rolling up among their core 
constituency in the Shiite heartland of southern Iraq pointed to the likelihood 
of a tremendous victory. An Alliance win would seal the Shiite majority's bid 
to claim power after centuries of domination by Sunni Arabs, including years of 
oppression by Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s Sunni-led regime. 

No returns have been released from the Kurdish provinces of the north or mainly 
Sunni provinces north and west of the capital. Many Sunni Arabs, who comprise 
an estimated 20 percent of Iraq's 26 million people, are believed to have 
stayed away from the polls - either out of fear of retaliation or anger at a 
vote held while U.S. troops are in the country. 

The Shiite ticket was also running strong among Iraqis who voted in 14 foreign 
countries. The International Organization for Migration, which supervised the 
expatriate vote, said the Shiite Alliance won about 36 percent of the 263,685 
absentee ballots. The Kurdish Alliance List took nearly 30 percent, and 
Allawi's ticket was third with about 9 percent. 

Allawi, who lived in exile in Britain during Saddam's rule, had been expected 
to draw support from many voters outside Iraq. 

Seats in the National Assembly will be apportioned according to each faction's 
percentage of the nationwide vote. A two-thirds majority in the assembly - 
possibly in a coalition with Kurds and others - would enable the cleric-backed 
ticket to wield considerable influence in drafting the new constitution and 
shaping a democratic Iraq. 

The leader of the Shiite ticket, Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, has promised an inclusive 
government and a role for the Sunnis and others in drafting the constitution - 
the major task of the new assembly. 

Al-Hakim and other figures in the Alliance spent years in exile in mainly 
Shiite Iran, but they insist they have no intention of transforming Iraq into a 
clerical-run state. The ticket was endorsed by Iraq's most revered top Shiite 
cleric, the Iranian-born Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. 

The signs of a strong Shiite victory have sparked fears that the Sunni Arab 
minority will not accept any new government that emerges from the election, 
fueling the mainly Sunni insurgency. 


Associated Press writers Ellen Knickmeyer, Sameer N. Yacoub and Jason Keyser 
contributed to this report. 



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