Suicide Bombing Targets Diyala as Iraq Awaits Poll Results

Officials in Iraq say a suicide bomber has killed at least 12 people in the northeastern province of Diyala.

Khanaqin, Irak (RushPRnews) 02/05/09 -The attack, in Khanaqin, came as Iraq awaits the results of Saturday’s provincial election, the country’s first since 2005.Preliminary official results are due later Thursday, and lawmakers say early signs indicate a good showing for the coalition led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Authorities have boosted security in the western province of Anbar, amid allegations from local Sunni tribal leaders of fraud in Saturday’s vote.

U.S. and Iraqi officials have been warning of possible violence by those who are unhappy with the results.IVC Inc.

The stakes are particularly high in the Sunni-dominated province. Many Iraqis, especially Sunnis, boycotted the last elections in 2005, and U.S. and Iraqi officials promoted Saturday’s vote as a way to redistribute power more equitably across Iraq’s ethnic and sectarian groups.

Local tribal leaders in Anbar accuse a large Sunni faction, Iraqi Islamic Party, of rigging the vote. Deputy Prime Minister Rafi al-Issawi was among the politicians who demanded a recount in Anbar on Wednesday.

Despite allegations of fraud, the international community has praised the provincial elections as an example of a peaceful, democratic political process.

Prime Minister Maliki also expressed confidence in the election process during a briefing Wednesday with the country’s top Shi’ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

Local news reports say many voters rewarded the prime minister for taking forceful action against extremist militias, and that they favor his secular agenda over more religious parties.

Fourteen of Iraq’s 18 provinces voted in the elections. The disputed oil-rich province of Kirkuk and the three provinces of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region delayed the vote because of local issues.