Baghdad: Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki won the most seats in Iraq’s elections but fell short of a majority on Monday, leaving him in the driver’s seat to retain his post despite vocal opposition.

The results from the election commission showed Maliki’s State of Law alliance garnered 92 out of 328 parliamentary seats, with the incumbent himself winning more than 721,000 personal votes. Both were by far the highest such figures from the April 30 election.

But he still fell short of a majority, meaning he will have to win the support of rivals from across the communal spectrum, some of whom have sharply criticised Maliki and refused to countenance his bid for a third term in office.

State of Law won 30 seats in Baghdad alone, and came first in 10 provinces overall, all of them in the bloc’s traditional heartland in the Shia-majority south of the country. Maliki’s main rivals all finished with between 19 and 29 seats overall.

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