12 Mar 2010

Iraq results indicate close race

3:25 pm on 12 March 2010

Early results from the Iraqi parliamentary election on Sunday suggest a tight contest is developing between incumbent Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki and his main challenger, Ayad Allawi.

Partial counts have Mr Maliki leading in two predominantly Shia provinces south of Baghdad and Mr Allawi ahead in Sunni areas to the north of the capital.

The BBC says delays in announcing results have led to growing questions over the voting process, and allegations of widespread fraud on polling day.

The partial results from the Independent High Electoral Commission come four days after balloting.

Final results for all 18 provinces are not expected for a fortnight.