Moqtada al-Sadr poised for victory in Iraqi election

Sergio Conner
May 16, 2018

Shia Muslim alliance Saima, of Muqtada al-Sadr, won the general elections in Iraq, after counting 91 percent of votes in 16 of the country " s 18 provinces, it was reported here today.

A political outlier before Saturday's ballot, Sadr is best known for leading the "fearsome" Mehdi Army in two insurgencies against U.S. troops in Iraq, following the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

But even then, his bloc might not necessarily form the next government.

Despite winning the popular vote and controlling the most seats, Sadr will not become prime minister because he did not run in the election, but his victory puts him in position to choose someone for the job.

Voter turnout was at a low 44 percent, 15 percent lower than the turnout in the 2014 parliamentary elections.

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Moqtada al-Sadr, the Shia cleric whose Mahdi Army bloodied the nose of the US military in the battle of Fallujah in 2004 that left eight Kellogg, Brown and Root transport drivers and three USA soldiers dead and who was considered an "outlaw", has won Iraq's parliamentary election. The commission gave no indication on when further results would be announced.

He was followed by Amiri with more than 1.2 million votes, translating into around 47 seats, and Abadi with more than 1 million votes and about 42 seats. Despite a third place finish, Abadi could potentially still remain prime minister after the government coalition is formed.

Political sources told AFP that two meetings have been held under Iranian guidance to bring together several political blocs.

"We will not allow liberals and communists to govern in Iraq", Ali Akbar Velayati, top adviser to the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in February.

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