Muqtada al-Sadr Alliance Wins Elections in Iraq

Muqtada al-Sadr Alliance Wins Elections in Iraq

The IHEC found that Hadi al-Amiri's coalition is in second place, and current Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's group is listed in third place.

An alliance of candidates linked to Iraq's powerful Shiite paramilitary groups was in second.

The race to become Iraq's next prime minister appears wide open as Muqtada al Sadr's alliance looked to be in the lead after the first elections since the defeat of Daesh. Asked about the U.S. government's possible softened position toward Sadr and his alleged proximity to Riyadh, Hassan Danaiefar told Entekhab news site on May 15, "Some of this talk is speculation".

The announcement came just over 24 hours after polls closed across the country amid record low voter turnout. Full results are due to be officially announced later on Monday.

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Amid all the political amalgamations and formulations, the results should act as a wake-up call for political elites that Iraqis want an emphatic move away from sectarianism.

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.

After the 2003 US-led invasion, Sadr's Mahdi Army militia battled USA forces, and he is now calling for American troops to leave following last year's defeat of IS.

His fearsome Mehdi Army militia led two uprisings against United States forces, whose withdrawal he consistently demanded, and was blamed for the killing of thousands of Sunni Muslims in the sectarian violence that plagued Iraq in 2006 and 2007.

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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.

Mr Sadr fled to Iran before the Iraqi government launched a crackdown on the Mehdi Army and remained in self-imposed exile until 2011, after playing a key role in the reappointment of then Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Celebrations erupted in Baghdad's Sadr City, an impoverished quarter that is home to about 3 million people and is named after the cleric's father, Ayatollah Mohammed Sadeq al-Sadr, who was killed by suspected agents of Saddam Hussein in 1999.

On Tuesday, Abadi telephoned Sadr to congratulate him on winning the elections victory. More than 2 million people are displaced by war, majority Sunnis.

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