US sources in Baghdad revealed to our Baghdad correspondent that the difference between the number of seats obtained by the list headed by PM Nouri el Maliki and those obtained by his nearest competitor, Iyad Allawi, has been reduced to 4 or 5 seats only. M. Nouri el Maliki shall obtain a maximum of 86 seats in Iraq’s coming parliament while Iyad Allawi shall be at the head of a group of around 82 deputies.

The list of the Supreme Council headed by Ammar el Hakim is expected to obtain 45 seats, while the Kurds shall total 62 to 65 seats.

In detail, and from US sources:

In Mosul: Maliki 0, Allawi 21 seats

In Anbar:  Maliki 1, Allawi 8 seats

In Diyala: Maliki 6, Allawi 2 seats

In Baghdad: Maliki 27, Allawi 23 seats

In the South: Maliki 56, Allawi 11 seats

It is expected that the counting of ballots in Salahuddin and Kirkuk provinces shall confirm Mr. Maliki’s very small lead.

US sources, further, revealed that the "Da’awa" party has suffered a major electoral defeat with the elimination of three of its leaders, namely Mr. Hassan el Saneed, Mr. Haidar el Abadi and Mr. Sami el Askari.

The results show a decline in the status of Iraq’s president Mr. Jalal Talbani among Iraq’s Kurdish electorate, which shall make Mr. Massoud Barzani the decision maker on behalf of their Kurdish minority. Barzani is thought to prefer an alliance with both Mrs. Ammar el Hakim and Iyad Allawi to the detriment of Mr. Maliki.

According to Iraqi sources, the results represent a failure for Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri el Maliki even if he keeps a numerical lead over his opponents. For all practical purposes, his chances to form a new government are not much better than the chances of Mr. Iyad Allawi.

Mr. Allawi, himself a shiite, shall, however, suffer from the major handicap of having obtained most of his seats among Iraq’s sunni electorate.

In view of the close results, the formation of Iraq’s next government shall be decided by political alliances among Iraq’s major Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish parties.

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