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Page last updated at 21:20 GMT, Friday, 14 May 2010 22:20 UK

'No fraud found' as Iraq election recount ends

By Gabriel Gatehouse
BBC News, Baghdad

Iraqi electoral commission official Qassim al-Aboudi speaks to reporters in Baghdad, 14 May
The results of the recount are to be made public on Monday

More than two months after Iraq's parliamentary polls, the electoral commission says it has ended a partial recount and found no cases of fraud.

The recount was requested by incumbent Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, whose coalition came second in the poll, according to provisional results.

The announcement marks an important stage on the road towards ending a long period of political deadlock.

Many fear the deadlock is creating an environment insurgents can exploit.

It took 11 days to recount by hand all 2.5m ballots cast in Baghdad and the surrounding area.

A spokesman for the electoral commission said the results would be made public on Monday and sent to the court for ratification.

Many will hope that this announcement marks the end of a series of challenges to the vote itself, and the beginning of negotiations in earnest between the various political parties.

No single party won enough seats to form a government on its own.

A broad coalition of some kind - including Shia and Sunni Muslims, and Kurds - seems the most likely outcome.

The question is whether a deal can be struck that will be acceptable to all sides in this very delicate and tense stalemate.

It is a question of some urgency. On Monday, more than 100 people were killed in a wave of bombings and shootings across Iraq.



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