"Allawi’s performance among Shia voters was the biggest surprise. Even though his slate had a distinctly Sunni flavor, the majority proportion of Shias who had voted for him in the 2005 election seem to have cast their votes for his candidates again. Allawi picked up 12 seats in predominately Shia provinces, and as many as eight seats from the Shia vote in Baghdad. These were probably voters who were fed up with the Shia Islamist parties, and who had decided to bandwagon with a secular slate that seemed best poised to challenge the Islamist stranglehold on power.
But it would be a mistake to assume that the Shia secular vote all went to Allawi; anecdotal evidence suggests that a very large proportion of that vote went to Maliki, who had successfully recast himself in the Shia public imagination as a secular candidate, even though he heads an Islamist party."
Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2010/03/iraqi_election_resul.php#ixzz0jR7KcB44