Friday, 16 November, 2018

Sadr eyes Govt as poll upset rocks Iraq

Populist Cleric Sadr All but Wins Majority in Iraq Election Iraqi municipality workers dismantle election posters in Najaf Iraq
Melinda Barton | 15 May, 2018, 23:08

Also in the mix is ex-prime minister Nuri al Maliki, a divisive figure blamed for losing territory to Daesh and stirring sectarianism, who has cultivated ties with Iran.

Influential Shia cleric Muqtada al Sadr's group were declared the winners of the Iraqi election after votes in 16 of 18 provinces were tallied.

Shia rivals of Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi have made big gains in Saturday's parliamentary elections, partial results suggest, according to the BBC NEws report on Monday.

The front-runner in Iraqi elections, the populist Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, wasted little time trying to prove to potential allies that he is serious about shaking up the government and cleaning up corruption as he worked to cobble together a governing coalition.

Sadr for now appears to be ruling out an alliance with two other powerful forces inside Iraq: the Iran-backed Conquest Alliance of former anti-IS paramilitary fighters and ex-premier Maliki.

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 cannot become prime minister since he did not personally run in the election, but the fact that those within his party hold a large number of seats could put him in a position to pick someone for the job.

The announcement came just over 24 hours after polls closed across the country amid record low voter turnout.

It may be Abadi, Reuters reports, who has signaled a willingness to work with Sadr to form a working government. Despite a third place finish, Abadi could potentially still remain prime minister after the government coalition is formed. Once the results were announced hundreds of Sadr supporters gathered and chanted slogans against corruption of Iraq's political elite and Iran's influence in the country.

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