As ballots are tallied in Iraq, Americans call vote a milestone

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Even before the votes were tallied, Iraq’s candidates and coalitions began positioning themselves in an evolving political landscape on Monday. Some claimed victory, and a few conceded defeat in an election on Sunday that the top American officials here called a milestone that kept the withdrawal of American troops on pace.

Iraq’s election commission announced that 62 percent of Iraqis voted, higher than expected, though only 53 percent cast ballots in Baghdad, which was struck by a wave of violence as polls opened.

While lower than the 76 percent that turned out in the country’s last parliamentary election in December 2005, it was higher than last year’s showing in provincial elections, suggesting an energized electorate and perhaps higher stakes. Some of the largest turnout occurred in regions, like Kirkuk and Nineveh, that include disputed territories.

Full story: As Ballots Are Tallied in Iraq, Americans Call Vote a Milestone –