Iraq’s highest court has certified the election results announced by the Independent High Electoral Commission, three months after the March 7 elections. The cross-sectarian Iraqiya bloc of former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi received more votes than Nuri al-Maliki’s Shi’ite State of Law bloc and the Iranian-backed Iraqi National Alliance. Prior to the certification of results, Allawi warned that any attempt by the united Shi’ite blocs to exclude his alliance from government could result in renewed sectarian bloodshed. Post-election violence in Iraq increased in the past months. According to government figures, a total of 275 civilians were killed in May, 274 in April, 216 in March and 211 in February.
Meanwhile, the United Nations discussed human rights and peace with religious and ethnic communities and government officials of the northern Iraqi governorate of Ninewa in a meeting held May 27. While security talks are ongoing, several Iraqis from various insurgent groups gathered in a hotel in Istabul to plan a comeback. It was followed by a public meeting in Damascus, Syria, by the outlawed Baath Party to hail its rebirth. The meetings have baffled Iraqi and American officials, who fear that these unusual gatherings could gain traction amid the current political crisis in Iraq.