Iraqi men gather at a Baghdad cafe after the election results are announced
The narrow victory by Iraq's former prime minister, Iyad Allawi and his Iraqiyya bloc, over the State of Law coalition, led by the incumbent prime minister Nouri Maliki, will mean many months of coalition-building before a new Iraqi government is finally announced.
Iraqis across the country give their verdict on the results and how they feel the poll was handled.
Afaf, 21, Baghdad
Before the poll, Afaf had said she was too disillusioned to vote.
I don't know if there was corruption or not, but the delay in announcing the final results makes us suspicious. Election fraud doesn't necessarily happen on the day of polling itself.
It seems the elections went off normally, despite threats of violence. I was surprised at the high turnout, so many more Iraqis voted than in previous years.
I had wanted Iyad Allawi to win because he seems more democratic
It was as if people woke up from a long sleep and decided to do something for their country.
Competition was intense between Mr Allawi and Mr Maliki - and the result was a shock.
I had wanted Mr Allawi to win because he seems more democratic and we want change. So I'm really satisfied with the result.
But I do fear what will happen next. I'm afraid Iraq will be driven towards civil collapse or a regional war. Other people are more optimistic, believing Iraq can be rebuilt.
There must be a coalition, but it won't be satisfactory for either party, because each has its own goals. Even if a coalition is achieved, the battle for power and position will continue.
The most important thing is that even if it didn't go totally to plan, terrorist attacks failed to stop the steady stream of Iraqis voting. We are still here, still strong, nothing can stop us.
Dilshad, 60, Kirkuk
Dilshad voted for the new Kurdish Gorran or Movement for Change party, which stood opposite the traditional Kurdistan Alliance.
I don't think the election was fair and I definitely think there was fraud. I also strongly believe that corruption against the Kurds in ethnically-mixed areas is a fact.
The Kurdish and Maliki blocks would see Allawi's movement coming to power as a return of the Baath party
Take Mosul for example. It was claimed that the population was over three million, resulting in that governorate having more seats, which favours the Allawi movement.
However, in the elections of 2005 the population in the Mosul governorate was less than two million.
It's not the result I was hoping for either locally or nationally.
Nationally, the Kurds only have 57 seats in the Iraqi parliament, but this would have been more than 65 had there been no cheating.
Locally, in Kirkuk I think the Kurdish vote lost two seats. One because of rivalry between the conservative parties and the new Movement for Change [Gorran party] itself.
The other I strongly believe was taken away from the Kurds by fraud. The Kurds should have had eight out of 12 seats in Kirkuk.
No-one knows what will happen. Neither the Kurds nor the Shias under Mr Maliki want to align themselves with Mr Allawi's Iraqiyya movement.
Both the Kurdish and Maliki bloc would regard Mr Allawi's movement coming to power as a return of the Baath party, because of the Baath party factions who aligned themselves with Mr Allawi.
Safaa, 48, Basra
Safaa supported a candidate on the list of the Shia-led Iraqi National Alliance, which came third nationally.
Above all we must remember that after a long period of tyranny, democracy is something people grasp gradually.
I have to trust the results as fair, despite the long time it took to announce the outcome and the needlessly complex computer program they used to calculate the votes.
I think the election was run OK.
It is not the result I wanted; locally my candidate - who was on the National Iraqi Alliance list - came ninth and only seven will go to parliament. He is still in with a chance depending on the formation of the government.
Nationally our grouping, which came third with 70 seats in parliament, will be very important.
I think there should be a coalition to shape a new government and to choose a president, prime minister, and the parliament chairman.
Alaa, 42, Baghdad
Alaa worked as PR manager for the Freedom party, part of the Shia-led Iraqi National Alliance.
I think it would be impossible to hold an election that was totally fair and without corruption.
The election was handled fairly well, it was good that modern voting technology was used, it helped prevent accusations of fraud.
I think the politicians must accept the results as they are and put the interests of the nation above any personal ambition they have.
The results are not really what I wanted. I hoped the Iraqi National Alliance would get more votes. I don't want people with a history of the Baath Party to be in power.
I think the inevitable coalition should be between the State of Law party and the Iraqi National Alliance.
But both Nouri Maliki and Iyad Allawi want to be prime minister, so I don't think there is a way for the two biggest parties to join together.
I just hope the winners and losers can show the same spirit towards each other and share a national vision.