Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Muqtada al-Sadr Alliance Wins Elections in Iraq

Muqtada al-Sadr Alliance Wins Elections in Iraq

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is facing a shock defeat in the country's first election since declaring victory over Islamic State in December.

Populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, a long-time adversary of the United States, has all but won Iraq's parliamentary election, the electoral commission said, in a surprise turn of fortune for the Shiite leader.

Tallies put the anti-establishment Conquest Alliance of pro-Iranian former paramilitary fighters who helped battle Daesh in second, and incumbent Abadi's bloc back in third.

Al-Sadr commands the devotion of millions of Iraqis who have sent their sons and husbands to fight for his militia from the early days of the USA occupation. By the end of the announcement, al-Sadr's list had the highest popular vote, followed by al-Amiri's.

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Although al-Sadr won't be prime minister because he himself didn't run in the election, he will have the power to name the next leader-and this could seriously influence Iraq's politics and policies.

For this year's elections, Mr Sadr's party and its allies campaigned on a platform of fighting corruption and investing in public services.

Abadi offered a statement of congratulations to Sadr for his victory, and for encouraging a secure atmosphere during the vote.

"We are ready to work and cooperate in forming the strongest government for Iraq, free of corruption", Abadi said in a live televised address.

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While speculation swirls, the next concrete step remains completing the vote count and firming up the final makeup of Iraq's new 329-seat parliament. The government should be formed within 90 days of the official results.

Also on Tuesday, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) called on IHEC to recount votes manually due to concerns from some Kurdish political parties over the preliminary elections results in the Kurdistan Region.

The electoral commission released results from 10 of 19 provinces Sunday night, including tallies from Baghdad and Basra provinces.

Muqtada al-Sadr, who heads the sectarian Sayirun (On the Move) Coalition, said he would not form a coalition with Maliki "in any case".

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More than two million Iraqis are still displaced across the country and IS militants continue to mount deadly attacks despite having lost control of the territory they once held. Iran has publicly stated it will not allow his bloc to govern.

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