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Iraq's al-Maliki hails high election turnout, says balloting was 'slap in face of terrorism'

  • 96e81260e9dcda10520f6a7067001a78.jpg

    An election worker seals a ballot box as polls close at a polling center in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, April 30, 2014. Iraqis braved the threat of bombs and other violence to vote Wednesday in parliamentary elections amid a massive security operation as the country slides deeper into sectarian strife. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim) (The Associated Press)

  • APTOPIX Mideast Iraq Elections-2.jpg

    Electoral workers count ballots under lamplight, due to a power cut, as polls close at a polling center in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, April 30, 2014. Iraqis braved the threat of bombs and other violence to vote Wednesday in parliamentary elections amid a massive security operation as the country slides deeper into sectarian strife. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim) (The Associated Press)

  • Mideast Iraq Elections-3.jpg

    Electoral workers count ballots as polls close at a polling center in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, April 30, 2014. Iraqis braved the threat of bombs and other violence to vote Wednesday in parliamentary elections amid a massive security operation as the country slides deeper into sectarian strife. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim) (The Associated Press)

Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says the high turnout in parliament elections the previous day was a "slap in the face of terrorism" and militants trying to undermine the country's stability.

Thursday's remarks by al-Maliki reflected confidence that he would eventually get another term in office.

Al-Maliki's State of Law bloc was widely expected to win the most seats in the 328-member parliament but fall short of a majority — meaning he would have to cobble together a coalition.

Wednesday's voting was Iraq's first nationwide election since U.S. troops withdrew in 2011. The turnout, according to officials, was estimated to have been 60 percent, excluding volatile and militant-held areas where there was no balloting.

Election workers are counting the ballots, with first results expected in the coming days.