World

Early results in Iraq election favor populist cleric al-Sadr

Early results in Iraq election favor populist cleric al-Sadr

He has extended a hand to a wide spread of parties - including the bloc of current Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi that lies in third place according to latest results.

According to preliminary figures released by IHEC, the prime minister did poorly in the election, with his Al-Nasr Alliance trailing behind the party of surprise victor cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and that of militia leader Hadi al-Amiri, which came in second.

Abadi, who is the preferred candidate of the United States, looks set to come in third behind the Fatah (Conquest) alliance, led by former transport minister Hadi al-Amiri, who presides over the political wings of several Shia-led paramilitary forces.

Sadr - the former leader of the anti-Western Mahdi Army during the USA occupation - ran on a campaign promising to stamp out corruption but has also been keen to distance himself from Iranian influence. Al-Sadr said in Tweet he was open to forming a coalition with al-Abadi to form a new government for Iraq.

He announced Tuesday on state television that it was the responsibility of Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) to conduct the recount to determine accurate results, citing high-profile charges of vote tampering in the disputed province of Kirkuk.

"If we want to change things then the prime minister needs to come from Marching Towards Reform", said Salah Jamal, 24.

In order to truly reverse the apathy felt by some Iraqis, the government - and whoever becomes prime minister - must actively break down sectarian barriers while engaging with young people.

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.

Only 44 percent of voters turned out — the lowest in the four elections held since Saddam's ouster in 2003.

On Sunday night, officials from Iraq's election commission announced the nearly full returns from 10 of Iraq's 19 provinces, including Baghdad and Basra.

"Iran perceives Sadr as an unstable entity. and the USA does not see him as an ally. there are unpredictable scenarios now surrounding the formation of the new government".

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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