Maliki said Friday that he would not accept the results of the election. His supporters, claiming massive fraud, had demanded a manual recount of votes cast in the March 7 election even before the tally was finished, but the election commission said there was no basis for a recount. A top United Nations official in Iraq also said the elections were credible and urged all sides to accept the results.
The news was announced shortly after two bombs exploded inside a popular restaurant in Khalis, a town 50 miles north of Baghdad. At least 40 people were killed and dozens were injured, said Maj. Ghalib Al-Karkhi, the police spokesman in Diyala province. Another police official said one of the explosions was a car bomb and the other a suicide bomber.
The bombing raises concerns that violence could spike as a period of extended political negotiations ensue and political blocs try to form a coalition government as U.S. troops draw down.