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Iraq lifts security measures, praised for election

[JURIST] Iraqi authorities began to ease tight election security measures [JURIST report] Saturday by lifting the ban on traffic and opening all borders except for the border with Syria, which will reopen in a few days. Thursday's election [JURIST report] drew as many as 11 million people to the polls, or 70 percent of Iraq's population. International observers have praised the parliamentary election, with a spokesman for the International Mission for Iraqi Elections [official website] stating that it generally met international standards [BBC report]. Election results may take up to ten days to be released, while the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq [official website] counts votes [IECI FAQ, PDF] and reviews the 200 complaints that have been filed, including numerous reports of violations at some of the polling stations set up outside of Iraq. Shiite religious parties are expected to garner the majority of the vote, but a large Sunni turnout will likely increase the number of Sunni seats in the 275-member parliament. Sunnis had a very small number of seats in the interim government, elected last January, because most Sunnis boycotted January's election. Under the new constitution [JURIST news archive], ratified in October, the party with the largest number of seats will first try to form a government and many predict that the Shiite religious parties will have to form a majority coalition. The new parliament will replace the interim government [official website] in January. AP has more.

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