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Iraqis To Seek Consensus

The final results of Iraq's December 15th parliamentary elections are in. An alliance of Shiite religious parties won the largest number of seats, but not enough to rule without coalition partners.

The Shiite United Iraqi Alliance captured one hundred twenty-eight of the parliament's two hundred seventy-five seats, down from the one-hundred forty-six seats it won in the January 2005 interim parliamentary elections. The two Iraqi Sunni coalitions that participated in the December elections together won fifty-five seats, up from the seventeen seats won by Sunni candidates in the January 2005 elections. An alliance of the two major Kurdish parties won fifty-three seats, down from the seventy-five they won in January 2005. A secular party, led by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi won twenty-five seats, and smaller parties, including representatives of Iraq's Christian and Turkoman minorities, won a total of fourteen seats.

U-S State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says that the December elections are another milestone in Iraq's transition to democracy:

"What is clear is that the Iraqis once again have demonstrated that they are fully capable and invested in running a good, clean, transparent election process. . . .There were no violations so serious that [they] fundamentally changed the outcome of the election."

Mr. McCormack says that Iraq's religious and ethnic communities should now work toward compromise and consensus:

"What we would encourage the Iraqis to do. . . .is to work together in cross-sectarian, cross-ethnic efforts to think about forming a government. This new parliament is going to be a permanent body that is going to be in office for four years. The eyes of Iraq will be upon them."

The Iraqi people, said State Department spokesman McCormack, will be looking to their new parliament to form "an effective, responsible government", responsive to Iraqis regardless of their ethnic or religious group.

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.