updated 12/28/2005 9:12:29 AM ET 2005-12-28T14:12:29

A United Nations official said Wednesday that Iraq’s recent parliamentary elections, which have given a strong lead to the Shiite religious bloc dominating the current government, were credible and that there was there was no justification in calls for a rerun.

The official, Craig Jenness, said at a news conference organized by the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq that the U.N.-led international election assistance team found the elections to be credible and transparent.

“Turnout was high and the day was largely peaceful, all communities participated,” he said.

The Shiite bloc held talks with Kurdish leaders about who should get the top 12 government jobs, as thousands of Sunni Arabs and secular Shiites protested what they say was a tainted vote.

Two Sunni Arab groups and former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi’s Iraqi National List have threatened a wave of protests and civil disobedience if fraud charges are not properly investigated.

In another of continuing political demonstrations across the country, more than 4,000 people rallied Wednesday in Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, in favor of the major Sunni Arab party, the Iraqi Accordance Front. Demonstrators carried banners say “We refuse the election forgery.”

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