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Iraqi PM's Group Takes Lead In National Elections

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki votes during parliamentary elections in Baghdad on April 30.
A coalition led by Iraq's Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has emerged as the biggest winner in parliamentary elections.

The results for the first parliamentary election since the U.S. military withdrawal in 2011 were released on May 19 by the Independent High Electoral Commission.

According to the results, al-Maliki's State of Law bloc gained 92 seats in the 328-member parliament.

A list loyal to Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr came second with 28 seats, followed by the list of another powerful Shi'ite cleric, Ammar al-Hakim, with 29 seats.

State of Law was not expected to command a majority outright.

Al-Maliki must now reach out to other blocs to try to form a ruling coalition. That process could take months.
Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters