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Shiites Reject Calls for New Iraq Vote

Iraq’s leading Shiite religious bloc on Saturday condemned protests by Sunni Arab and secular groups claiming that parliamentary elections were fraudulent, and it rejected calls for a new ballot. Officials with the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance said preliminary results showing them with a clear lead in the Dec. 15 elections reflected the will of the people. They countered claims of irregularities by charging that many violations took place in Sunni Arab areas. They added, however, that they had begun talks with other groups about the possibility of forming a “national unity government.” At least one Sunni Arab leader said he was upset by the Shiite comments.Full Story

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