Iraqi Election: You mean there's results?

Did you know that the Iraqi elections had results? Me either. Well they do, and they're in (sort of), and it doesn't look good for the "Freedom is on the March" candidates:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - A Kurdish ticket pulled into second place ahead of U.S.-backed Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's candidates in Iraq (news - web sites)'s national election after votes were released Monday from the Kurdish self-governing area of the north. Insurgents struck Iraq's security forces with suicide bombs and mortar fire, killing more than 30 people. First election returns from the Sunni heartland confirmed on Monday that many Sunnis stayed away from ballot box, leaving the field to Shiite and Kurdish candidates. A Shiite-dominated ticket backed by the Shiite clergy leads among the 111 candidate lists, with a final tally of last week's election for a 275-member National Assembly expected by week's end. Allawi, who favors strong ties with the United States, had hoped to emerge as a compromise choice for prime minister, but the Shiite cleric-backed ticket say they want one of their own for the top job.
Actually, it depends on how you define Freedom. If you mean Freedom to draft an Islamic Constitution, then Freedom be marching! If you mean Freedom to assert your right to create an autonomous Kurdish state, then Freedom be marching! But if you mean Freedom to forge strong ties with the United States, then, well, better luck next time! (If there is another election). Now, I'm no Juan Cole, but it's not good for the US if their candidate finishes a distant third. It's also troubling, no matter what Cheney says, that top Shiites are calling for an Islamic constitution. On top of it all, it's probably not good that the Kurds might think they have a mandate to push for an automous state of their own. These are all mere insignificant (and messy) details. All that matters is that there even was an election.