Populist cleric Sadr all but wins Iraq parliament election

April FrancisMay 16, 2018

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.

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

Moreover, Qasem Mohebali, former director-general of political affairs of the Middle East in Iran's Foreign Ministry, told the moderate Entekhab news site on May 15, "Perhaps the reason for [Sairoon] Alliance's attraction for the Iraqi people was Muqtada al-Sadr's nationalist slogans like 'Arab Iraq.' On the other hand, the corruption of the previous governments was also impactful in turning people away [from the other groups]".

Because al-Sadr did not run for a seat, he can not become prime minister, but his deputies in parliament are expected to follow his directives.

During the Iraq War, Sadr was a fierce opponent of USA forces in the country, and his followers also clashed with Sunnis in sectarian fighting.

The main question for Iraqis, regional powers and Western allies now is who will become the next prime mister and form the government.

The electoral commission said it would release the remainder of the results on Tuesday.

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The poll noticed a report low turnout, as exclusively 44.5 % of eligible voters headed to the polls within the lowest participation fee because the 2003 US-led ouster of Saddam Hussein. Al-Sadr said in Tweet he was open to forming a coalition with al-Abadi to form a new government for Iraq.

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.

The Reformist Shargh newspaper wrote that the surprising results of the Iraqi elections may signal a greater Saudi influence in Baghdad.

The remaining uncounted ballots, mostly from Iraqis overseas, the security services, and internally displaced people voting in camps and elsewhere, might change the final seat tallies but only marginally.

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

Any political party or alliance must gain a majority of the 329 seats in parliament to be able to choose a prime minister and form a government.

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