Iraqi Election

Recount Confirms Allawi's Victory

A crucial hurdle for the creation of a stable Iraqi government was cleared Sunday, as an official recount of March's parliamentary elections validated the slim lead of Ayad Allawi over Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Allawi, who leads a secular Sunni coalition, came out barely ahead with 91 seats—compared to Maliki's 89—after a partial recount of the populous areas surrounding the nation's capital, Baghdad. Much doubt still remains, though, given that Allawi recently formed an alliance with a large Shiite voting bloc, putting his new coalition just a few seats shy of an outright majority in the Iraqi parliament. Throughout the weeks-long dispute, the specter of an al Qaeda insurgency remains, especially given that U.S. troops are set to withdraw almost half of their numbers by the end of summer.