BAGHDAD, Iraq Feb 13, 2005 — Iraq’s majority Shiite Muslims won nearly half the votes in the nation’s Jan. 30 election, giving the long-oppressed group significant power but not enough to form a government on their own.

The Shiites likely will have to form a coalition in the 275-member National Assembly with the other top vote-getters the Kurds and Prime Minister Ayad Allawi’s list to push through their agenda and select a president and prime minister. The president and two vice presidents must be elected by a two-thirds majority.

This seems like good news. Turnout was also somewhat higher than previously estimated.