Final results from Iraq's provincial elections show Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's allies have strengthened their standing across the country.
Candidates backed by the moderate Shi'ite prime minister dominated in the capital, Baghdad, and were victorious over other more sectarian Shi'ite rivals across southern Iraq.
The results released Thursday also showed that Sunni Arab tribal leaders who rose up against insurgents won the most seats in the western province of Anbar. The tribal chiefs won eight out of 29 provincial council seats in last month's elections.
The vote in 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces was seen as a referendum on Mr. Maliki's leadership ahead of national parliamentary elections later this year.
Polling is to take place later in the three Kurdish provinces of northern Iraq, as well as the disputed oil-rich region of Kirkuk.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.