Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Populist cleric Sadr all but wins Iraq parliament election

Populist cleric Sadr all but wins Iraq parliament election

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi came in first in Iraq's second largest province, Nineveh, but he has performed poorly in the rest of the country, coming in third and fourth place in most provinces and fifth in Baghdad.

Alliance of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is set to win Iraq's parliamentary elections - an unexpected outcome that has caught the attention of Iranian media.

According to preliminary results, second in the vote came Iranian-backed militia leader Hadi al-Amiri, while the current PM al-Abadi's coalition was only third.

Populist Shiite religious scholar Moqtada Sadr Tuesday eyed a governing coalition after dealing a blow to both Iranian and US influence with a shock election triumph that upended Iraqi politics.

Sources close to former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki - who is close to Iran - told al-Ghad Press, Soleimani was in Iraq to discuss the formation of a next government following last weekend's elections. By the end of the announcement, al-Sadr's list had the highest popular vote, followed by al-Amiri's.

MacCallum added that Trump's top military officials, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford Jr. both seek to continue to work with the Iraqi government in a constructive way.

Sadr has ruled himself out of becoming prime minister.

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Reuters could not independently verify the document's authenticity but the results in it for the 16 announced provinces were in line with those announced by the commission. Of more than 2 million Iraqis displaced by the war, the majority are Sunnis.

The final results are due to be announced later on Monday, triggering what are expected to be lengthy negotiations to form a new coalition government.

Turnout in the election was 44.5% - much lower than in previous polls.

His spokesman, Saleh al-Obeidi, said in an interview in Baghdad on Tuesday that Mr. Sadr's movement is seeking allies who agree to its three-plank manifesto - ending the practice of awarding ministries on sectarian quotas, fighting corruption and allowing independent technocrats to manage key government agencies.

Seats in parliament will be allocated proportionally to coalitions once all votes are counted.

Celebrations erupted in Baghdad's Sadr City, an impoverished quarter that is home to some 3 million people and is named after the cleric's late father, Ayatollah Mohammad Sadq al-Sadr.

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