Iraqi Election Frontrunner Moktada al-Sadr Courts Partners to Govern

Iraqi Election Frontrunner Moktada al-Sadr Courts Partners to Govern

Al-Sadr did not run for a seat in parliament and can not become prime minister.

Sadr, an opponent to both US and Iranian influence in Iraq, was followed by Iran-backed Shia militia leader Hadi Al Amiri's coalition.

During the Iraq War, Sadr was a fierce opponent of US forces in the country, and his followers also clashed with Sunnis in sectarian fighting.

Whereas lengthy railing towards the United States, the populist firebrand has additionally distanced himself from its key rival Iran, drawing nearer to regional Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia.

Only 44 percent of voters turned out — the lowest in the four elections held since Saddam's ouster in 2003.

Sadr has reinvented himself as an anti-graft crusader after rising to prominence as a strong militia chief whose group waged a bloody insurgency towards U.S. forces after the 2003 invasion.

"The recent proximity of Muqtada al-Sadr to Saudi Arabia has led the Sairoon Alliance to be partly considered as a group backed by the Saudis and ... to some extent means greater influence of Saudi Arabia [in Iraq] compared to its regional rivals", wrote Shargh on May 15, adding, "Sadr's supporters are opposed to Iranian influence and are vehemently anti-American". More than 2 million people are displaced by war, a lot of them Sunnis.

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"The Iraqi people had an election".

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

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.

Al-Sadr said in Tweet that he was open to forming a coalition with al-Abadi to form a new government for Iraq.

He was followed by Amiri with more than 1.2 million votes, translating into around 47 seats, and Abadi with more than 1 million votes and about 42 seats. The results have come as a shock to the Americans, who were convinced that the incumbent prime minister would gain enough seats to create a coalition with the moderate parties and thereby form a new government.

Iraqi Shiite cleric and leader Moqtada al-Sadr puts his ballot through an electronic counting machine into a ballot box at poll station in the central holy city of Najaf.

Political power in Iraq is traditionally divided along sectarian lines among the offices of prime minister, president and parliament speaker. Almost 2,600 women ran for office this year.

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