Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has called on Iraq's high electoral commission to respond to demands from several political blocs for a recount of votes from the March 7 parliamentary elections.
Maliki's call comes as his State of Law alliance is being edged out of first place by secularist Iyad Allawi, with most of the votes counted.
He stopped short of demanding a recount himself.
But a statement from his office said he wants the commission to respond immediately so as "to preserve the legitimacy of the electoral process."
The statement further said that as the head of Iraq's armed forces, Maliki wants to protect political stability and prevent a return to violence.
Latest results place former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's grouping ahead by about 8,000 votes, with about 93 percent of the vote count complete.
But no matter the final result, both Maliki and Allawi's will need to engage in talks with other parties to try to form a coalition capable of forming a government.