Iraq PM Congratulates Sadr on Election Win, Suggests Need for Recount

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Because al-Sadr did not run for a seat, he can not become prime minister, but his deputies in parliament are expected to follow his directives.

Unlike Abadi, a rare ally of both the United States and Iran, Sadr is an opponent of both countries, which have wielded influence in Iraq since a USA -led invasion toppled Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003 and thrust the Shiite majority into power.

Al-Sadr's list is leading the popular vote count, followed by a list linked to Iraq's predominantly Shiite paramilitary forces that fought alongside Iraq's army in the war against IS militants. Mr. Sadr, who once called for attacks on American forces, capitalized on this widespread discontent by rebranding himself in recent years as a champion of the poor, a firebrand against corruption and a patriot who rails against outside interference by Iran as well as America. The elections were held Saturday, with low turnout.

Iraqi Vice President and former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki shows his ink-stained finger after casting his vote at a polling station during the parliamentary election in Baghdad. More than 2 million people are displaced by war, a lot of them Sunnis.




The Reformist Shargh newspaper wrote that the surprising results of the Iraqi elections may signal a greater Saudi influence in Baghdad. It will be clear in the next a few days whether his alliance can convince other Iraqi blocs to jointly form a government or whether it is possible that the regional powers will intervene once again and support their proxies to lead Iraq for another four years. The country is also waiting to hear results from Kirkuk, an oil-rich city disputed by Baghdad and Iraq's northern, autonomous Kurdish administration.

The elections commission has announced results from 16 of Iraq's 19 provinces. The Iranian-backed Shi'ite militia chief Hadi al-Amiri came in second with about 1.2 million votes and will control 47 seats. Despite a third place finish, Abadi could potentially still remain prime minister after the government coalition is formed.

On May 12, Iraqis cast their votes in the first general election following the overthrow of Islamic State (ISIS). Despite that, al-Sadr's sophisticated political machine mobilized his loyal base of followers to go to the polls.

The constitution sets a quota for female representation, stating that no less than one-fourth of parliament members must be women.

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