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Shiites, Kurds Big Winners in Iraqi Elections

The Shiite United Iraq Alliance captured 48 percent of Iraqi votes from the country's recent elections, with the Kurdish party following with 25 percent. Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's lineup of candidates trailed, virtually guaranteeing a change in leadership.

The announced results from Iraq's national elections were released two weeks after the voting; while the figures represent a final tally, they are not yet certified, pending protests from other parties.

As no party won the two-thirds majority needed to form a presidential council, deals between coalitions are now being discussed. The Shiite coalition is pressing for one of its members to take the post of prime minister, while the Kurds are angling for the presidency.

The main job of the new National Assembly is to write a new constitution for the country.

Party leaders say the minority Sunnis, who voted in even smaller numbers than expected, will be included in the government.

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Anne Garrels