Iraq Elections' Big Loser May Have Been Iran

BAGHDAD -- The pro-Iranian party that's dominated Iraq's political life since the U.S.-sponsored elections in 2005 suffered a huge loss in last Saturday's provincial elections, while Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki's political party was a comfortable front-runner in a majority of Iraq's provinces, according to preliminary results Thursday.

The defeat of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq suggests that many voters, particularly in Iraq's Shiite Muslim south, abandoned a party that favored decentralization and is widely viewed as an arm of neighboring Iran in favor of a nationalist party that advocates a strong central state.

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