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Final tally in elections due today

BAGHDAD -- Iraqi officials will announce the final results of the Jan. 30 national elections today, a spokesman for the election commission said.

Farid Ayar said on Al-Arabiya television yesterday that the commission would meet this morning to finalize some unspecified issues and will release all final figures in the afternoon. The results will be considered official after three days.

''We will give three days to verify the results, hear any disputes, and then they will be officially declared final," Ayar said.

Voters chose a 275-member National Assembly and ruling councils in the 18 provinces. Iraqis living in Kurdish-ruled areas in the north also elected a new regional Parliament.

Partial returns released last week showed a Shi'ite-dominated ticket endorsed by the Shi'ite Muslim clergy running first among the 111 candidate lists. A Kurdish coalition was running second. The ticket headed by the US-backed interim prime minister, Iyad Allawi, was running a distant third.

The new assembly will elect a president and two vice presidents, who then will choose a prime minister, who will form a government subject to the Legislature's approval.

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