Thursday, March 11, 2010

FP morning post 3/11

Early reports suggest tight race in Iraq

Top story: Iraq's election commission is expected to announce partial results from last week's parliamentary elections, but early reports suggest a close race between Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's political coalition, former prime minister Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya coalition, and the Shiite Iraqi National Alliance. If current trends hold, Maliki's party is likely to win a plurality of the votes, with Allawi coming a close second.

Meanwhile the announcement of the results has been held up by Shiite leader Ahmed Chalabi's demand that parties be given a full accounting of the votes in order to address any irregularities.

The close early results suggest that Iraq's election drama is nowhere near over. “Whatever the end results, we know it will be a fierce struggle to form a government,” one official told the New York Times.

Kurdish parties are also expected to finish strong and maintain their seats in parliament, potentially acting as kingmaker as Maliki or a challenger struggle to form a majority.

Wealth: Mexican telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim has passed Bill Gates and Warren Buffet to become the world's richest person.

  • Chile's new president, Sebastian Pinera, will be sworn in today.
  • Meeting with President Obama in Washington, Haitian President Rene Preval requested more aid for earthquake recovery.
  • Eight journalists were kidnapped in one Mexican border city over the last two weeks.
  • Afghan president Hamid Karzai is in Pakistan for talks.
  • Google says it is in talks with the Chinese government over its future in the country.
  • Burma will allow the offices of Aung San Suu Kyi's party to reopen, but is still barring her from participating in upcoming elections.
Middle East
  • Thousands of demonstrators protested a government crackdown in Southern Yemen.
  • U.S. Vice President Joe Biden says Middle East peace talks must resume despite new housing contruction in East Jerusalem.
  • Hamas released a British reported being held in Gaza.
  • U.S. envoy Scott Gration urged Sudan to sign a peace deal in Darfur before next month's elections.
  • Fighting between government forces and al Shabaab rebels claimed dozens of lives on Thursday.
  • The U.N. food agency has blacklisted three contractors for diverting food aid sent to Somalia.
  • National strikes have shut down transportation and public services in Greece.
  • Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has formed a coalition in parliament.
  • A British court granted bail to the former vice president of Bosnia who was arrested at Heathrow airport on a Serbian warrant earlier this month.
-By Joshua Keating


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