Iraq PM Maliki's list leads in 7 of 12 provinces

Iraq PM Maliki's list leads in 7 of 12 provinces

BAGHDAD - Agence France-Presse
Iraq PM Malikis list leads in 7 of 12 provinces

Members of Iraq's Independent High Electoral count ballots at a counting center in Baghdad, on April 30. Election officials began counting the votes following the first elections in Iraq since U.S. troops left the country last year. AFP photo

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's State of Law list won the most provincial council seats in seven of the 12 provinces that voted, according to results released on May 4.

The vote for provincial councils was the first election held since US troops withdrew from Iraq in late 2011, and was seen as an important gauge of Maliki's popularity ahead of a general election next year.

State of Law led in Baghdad, Karbala, Babil, Diwaniyah, Basra, Dhi Qar, and Muthanna provinces, and tied for first in Wasit - all of them either Shiite-majority or mixed provinces.

Powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's movement led in Maysan province, while local lists won the most seats in Diyala, Najaf and Salaheddin provinces.

Six Iraqi provinces did not vote in the April polls. The three that make up the autonomous Kurdistan region are to vote later this year, as are Anbar and Nineveh, where polls were delayed because authorities said security could not be guaranteed.

Provincial elections have not been held in Kirkuk province since 2005 because of a lack of agreement between its various ethnic groups.