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Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani, a Shi'a, has called for the formation of a government based on national unity (file photo) (AFP)
24 December 2005 -- Iraqi political leaders met in Baghdad today to discuss a growing crisis over contested results from the country's 15 December general elections.
President Jalal Talabani met with representatives from the two main political coalitions disputing the election results. They are the Sunni-led Iraqi Accordance Front and former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's Iraqi National List.
Final results in the vote are not expected before January. But preliminary returns show the religious Shi'a bloc, the United Iraqi Alliance, likely to control the next parliament.
Sunni parties and Allawi's secular Shi'a list performed poorly. Some two dozen parties claim the vote was fraudulent and have called for a rerun.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's preeminent Shi'a spiritual leader, today appealed for calm, and urged the formation of a government based on national unity.
The Multinational Force in Iraq on December 15, 2005, released official images of the voting in the legislative elections. To view a slideshow of their photographs, click on the image.
To see RFE/RL's special webpage about the election, click here.