Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
World News | By Joan Terry

Coalition led by Muqtada al Sadr wins Iraqi election

Coalition led by Muqtada al Sadr wins Iraqi election

Preliminary results have shown Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder Abadi's "Victory" alliance did much more poorly than anyone anticipated, coming in third place in Saturday's elections.

Moqtada al-Sadr, the Shia cleric whose Mahdi Army bloodied the nose of the USA military in the battle of Fallujah in 2004 that left eight Kellogg, Brown and Root transport drivers and three US soldiers dead and who was considered an "outlaw", has won Iraq's parliamentary election.

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.

Projecting himself as an Iraqi nationalist, Sadr has a zealous following among the young, poor and dispossessed, but he had been sidelined by influential Iran-backed figures.

Sources close to former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki - who is close to Iran - told al-Ghad Press, Soleimani was in Iraq to discuss the formation of a next government following last weekend's elections.

The Sadr-led army has also been blamed for "the killing of thousands of Sunni Muslims in the sectarian violence that plagued Iraq in 2006 and 2007", says the BBC.

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Mr Al Sadr made a concerted effort to appeal to marginalised and disillusioned Iraqis while styling himself as a reformist leader determined to effect comprehensive change to a failing political class. They suggest Iraqis increasingly want to move towards civic-based politics that encompass people regardless of their background and sect.

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

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

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

O'Neill said al-Sadr cleverly renamed his "Mahdi Army" the "Peace Brigade" and said the name can be easily used as a propaganda tool to hurt people like Trump who oppose it. Whoever wins the most seats must negotiate a coalition government in order to have a majority in parliament.

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