BAGHDAD — Former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, whose Iraqiya alliance edged out Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s party in national elections last month, on Thursday warned of potential chaos and violence if he is denied the right to form the country’s next government.

Allawi said al-Maliki and his supporters’ refusal to accept final election results in which Allawi’s party won 91 seats in parliament versus 89 for al-Maliki’s State of Law alliance could provoke bloodshed among the Iraqi people.

“This will bring the country into really severe chaos,” Allawi told the Los Angeles Times at his Baghdad office. “(It will be) a revolution and a coup against the constitution. … It will throw the country wide open to violence.”

Al-Maliki has alleged election fraud and demanded a recount in parts of Baghdad and northern Iraq despite declarations from the United States and United Nations that the elections were fair. His alliance has also supported legal efforts to strip Allawi’s slate of some of their seats in the 325-seat parliament.

Al-Maliki also has argued that although Allawi’s alliance has a plurality, he still should not have an automatic right to form the next government, a stance rejected by Allawi.

“It is our right, based on our constitution and democracy, that we should spearhead the formation of the government,” Allawi said. “Now I cannot see a reason why we should be denied.”

The tussle for power as tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers prepare to head home has stoked sectarian tensions in Iraq, with the country’s onetime Sunni elite insisting Allawi is the winner.