The election results are out, and it appears that the Shi’ite Coalition won the most votes, but not quite a majority:
New and nearly final tallies of the votes cast in the Jan. 30 Iraqi national election show Iraq’s majority Shiite Muslims won nearly half, 48 percent, of the 8.5 million votes cast, more than any other group but not enough to control the planned 275-member National Assembly without the help of others.
That help could come in the form of a coalition with the No. 2 vote-getters, an alliance of Kurdish candidates, who received nearly 2.2 million votes, or 26 percent of the votes cast, The Associated Press reported.
A ticket let by Ayad Allawi, the interim Iraqi prime minister, finished third, with nearly 1.2 million votes, or 13.8 percent, according to The A.P.
The long-awaited results were issued this morning in Baghdad by representatives of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, who meticulously ticked off vote counts by province and by party.
While it is far too early to tell, it apepars that there has been a significant drop in coalition fatalities since the elections held at the end of last month. It has only been two weeks, so it is too early to jump to any firm conclusions, and violence could accelerate this weekend, but the numbers are striking (A graphic from the Iraq Coalition Casualties homepage can be viewed here).
This month, there have been 18 coalition casualties, meaning that the Coalition of the Willing has suffered an average of 1.38 casualties a day. This is the lowest average since March of last year, and dramatically lower than the casualty rate from the previous six month. For some perspective, last month we lost an average of 4.1 soldiers per day, in December 2004 we lost 2.48, and in November we were averaging 4.7 fatalities per day.*
This does not tell the entire story, as the casualty rate was inflated in several of those months by deaths from non-hostile fire. For example, the numbers last month were wildly inflated due to tragic helicopter crashes. Again, those soldiers and sailors and Marines are just as dead, but if we are going to judge this, we have to be honest with ourselves, and there is a significant difference between hostile and non-hostile deaths.**
At any rate, take it for what it is- a hopeful sign, but one that could literally blow up over night. I would advise people to be cautiously optimistic.
Obligatory Left-Wing Troll Prevention:
* I understand there is no such thing as .38 of a person. However, this is the metric the Iraq Coalition Casualty list has chosen to use, and the data would be meaningless if we rounded off to whole persons.
** I understand that it doesn’t matter to the family how the soldier died, he/she is just as dead and should never have been asked to fight BushCo.’s illegal war for oil.