Published: Tue, May 15, 2018

Sadr takes surprise lead in Iraq polls

Sadr takes surprise lead in Iraq polls

"What matters now is post-election alliances", said Balsam Mustafa, an Iraq expert and PhD candidate in Modern Languages at the University of Birmingham.

Al Arabiya's Shadaan Hammam reports.

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

Abadi encouraged all political parties and electoral lists that have concerns over the polling process to use legal procedures to contest the preliminary elections results.

Al-Sadr has won the attention of some of those regional rivals.

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

An official at the US State Department remained coy ahead of the definitive tally, telling Agence France-Presse "we are awaiting the announcement of the official results and look forward to the formation of the new government".

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.


The ballots of some 700,000 security personnel who voted and some one million Iraqis overseas were yet to be tallied up, meaning Abadi could get a boost five months after he announced victory over ISIS.

Abadi placed first in Iraq's second largest province, Nineveh, but he performed poorly in the rest of the country, coming in third and fourth place in most provinces, and fifth in Baghdad.

Fatah's strong result will be seen as a victory for Iran as it seeks to protect its interests in the Iraq, including the militias it finances and has sometimes directed to fight alongside its forces in Syria.

But Sadr has grown increasingly pragmatic over the years and formed a cross-sectarian electoral alliance emphasizing Iraqi nationalism over loyalty to Iranian clerics and American military and political backing.

The election was the first since the government declared victory over so-called Islamic State (IS) a year ago.

The ballots of some 700,000 security personnel who voted and Iraqis overseas were yet to be tallied up, meaning Abadi could get a boost five months after he announced victory over Daesh, in a voting that saw a turnout of 44 percent.

Iraqi people went to polls on Saturday to choose 329 parliamentarian in 18 provinces. Dozens of alliances ran for office in these elections and months of negotiations are expected before any one alliance can pull together the 165 required seats.

Multiple Shi'ite blocs dominate Iraq's political scene, and are historically all cozy with the nation's two main allies, Iran and the US.

Like this: