Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Moktada al-Sadr Leads In Iraqi Election Count

Moktada al-Sadr Leads In Iraqi Election Count

The electoral commission of Iraq announced that 44.5 percent of those eligible had cast their ballots in the elections.

No election since 2003 has had turnout below 60 per cent.

Sadr surprised allies and opponents alike with his strong showing across the majority of Iraqi provinces, where voters responded to his message of fighting corruption and reforming Iraq's patronage-heavy political system.

The strike, ordered by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, destroyed a building used as a command and logistics support center by the terror group, it said, Reuters reported.

Influential Shia cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, with realignment as a cross-sectarian anti-Iranian and pro-Arab nationalist figure, is a counterweight to the Conquest bloc and seemed the victor of the elections before this piece published. In 2010's election, vice-president Ayad Allawi's National Alliance won the largest number of seats but he was blocked from becoming prime minister, which he blamed on interference from Tehran.

Next in the running is the Conquest Alliance, made up of ex-fighters from mainly Iran-backed paramilitary units that battled Daesh, with results putting them ahead in four provinces and second in eight others.

But the vote over the weekend offered evidence that populism may be replacing sectarianism as the defining force in Iraqi politics. Iran has publicly stated it will not allow his bloc to govern.

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He leads the Revolutionaries for Reform Alliance (al-Sairoon) and his strong following amongst the working class will have a major say in the formation of any government in the coming days.

"We prefer to hold a manual recount of the vote throughout the Kurdish Regional Government to remove all doubts and maintain stability and security", the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) said in a statement.

They are both long-time political veterans well known to Iraqis. Around 7,000 candidates, representing 205 political entities, vied for 329 seats in the parliamentary elections.

Iraq has been ranked among the worlds most corrupt countries, with high unemployment, rife poverty, weak public institutions and bad services despite high oil revenues for many years. "Iraq first, eradicate corruption, and a technocratic government".

Sadr derives much of his authority from his family.

To enable this, his movement effectively exploited the network set up by his father, Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr, who was assassinated in 1999 during the period of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship. His rivals were seen as Maliki and Amiri, both closer than Abadi to Iran, which has wide sway in Iraq as the primary Shi'ite power in the region.

Abadi's coalition struggled to unite the nation's Shiite population, at first receiving the support of the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF/PMU) militias, but later losing it in January.

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