Allawi’s coalition tapped into widespread frustration with the government of al-Maliki, which is accused of inciting sectarian tensions and aligning itself too closely with Iran.
Allawi’s secular stance enabled him to win support from within all of Iraq’s different religious communities.
“The results are good and we want the new leader to correct the problems of the previous government,” said one man interviewed in Baghdad, “and bring wellbeing to the Iraqi people.”
But another supporter of al-Maliki sees things differently and calls for a recount of the results.
Violence erupted after the last parliamentary elections five years ago, when it took al-Maliki five months of negotiations to form a government.