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Iraqi Vote Counting Could Be Done Soon


http://gdb.rferl.org/C173E40C-6357-4A07-87D7-5A699CB289FE_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/C173E40C-6357-4A07-87D7-5A699CB289FE_mw800_mh600.jpg 1 February 2005 -- The head of Iraq's Independent Election Commission said today that vote counting from the 30 January national election was proceeding faster than expected and could be finished within days.

Commission Chairman Abd al-Hussayn al-Hindawi said, "you only need to wait a few days for the final results."

The leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim, has predicted a sweeping victory for the United Iraqi Alliance and said the alliance was already in contact with other groups in Iraq, preparing a basis for a multiethnic, multireligious government.

"We talk with every one, with the [Kurdish] groups of Mas'ud [Barzani] and Jalal [Talabani], with the Sunnis, and with other forces," al-Hakim said. "We respect all the forces. We have to work with them. We want to cooperate and work with them without any breaks, even those who did not take part in the electoral process. We are prepared to work with them. We will also work to involve them in this process and get them to participate in the writing of the constitution."

Outgoing Iraqi interim President Ghazi Ajil al-Yawir raised the possibility that coalition forces in Iraq could start withdrawing by year's end. Al-Yawir said it would make no sense to ask foreign troops to leave the country while there is "chaos" and a "vacuum of power," but he said by year's end there could be a reduction.

In Washington, U.S. President George Bush called Russian President Vladimir Putin, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, and Mexican President Vicente Fox to stress the importance of keeping the momentum from Iraqi elections and working to bring stability to the country.

(Reuters/AP/dpa/AFP)

For news, background, and analysis on Iraq's historic 30 January elections, see RFE/RL's webpage "Iraq Votes 2005".
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