The Washington Post reports on the election:
" According to preliminary returns, which will be certified in three days, the largely Shiite coalition known as the United Iraqi Alliance won 48.2 percent of the vote, the low end of what its officials had predicted. A coalition of two main Kurdish parties won 25.7 percent of the vote, and a bloc led by interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi got 13.8 percent. Together, the three coalitions accounted for nearly 88 percent of the vote, making them the dominant players in the National Assembly, which will choose a largely ceremonial president and two deputy presidents. They, in turn, will appoint a powerful prime minister who will choose a Cabinet."
Also note that 8.5 million people voted, and this turned out to be about 58% of the vote (I had predicted 60%). I think this is a great turnout, and everyone, I hope, will see it as such. I am also glad that the United Iraqi Alliance (Sistani’s party, but also includes Sunnis and others) won just under 50% of the vote. It should be easier to form a majority that is more moderate than would have been the case say, if the UIA won 60% of the vote.
If you are still of the mind that the regime change in Iraq has no effect on the rest of the region, note this Lee Smith article on Ammar Abdulhamid, a liberal Syrian. The liberals in the region, says Smith, "seem to be gathering a little momentum."