Iraq's election results expected in two days

May 15, 2018, 15:24
Iraq's election results expected in two days

He can not become prime minister as he did not run in the election, though his apparent victory puts him in a position to pick someone for the job. While going from that to a 165-seat majority is a long road, Sadr's election performance, and decisive victory in Baghdad district, shows a major shift in Iraqi politics.

"We continue to operate to defeat ISIS for the long-term and continue to support the Iraqi national security forces and help them to become a self-sufficient, sustainable entity, " said Eric Pahon, a spokesman for the Defense Department.

The election came as Iraq is struggling to bring down soaring unemployment and reintegrate its disenfranchised Sunni minority.

In this election, many voters abandoned their traditional divisions and supported two new political movements groups that promised to tackle a pervasive everyday problem: corruption.

The head of the list is Hadi al-Ameri, a long-time ally of Tehran, whose forces ended up battling alongside the United States to oust the jihadists. But some Iraqis resent his close ties to Tehran.

The militia also hunted U.S. troops in Najaf, just south of Baghdad.

Sadr has reinvented himself as an anti-graft crusader after rising to prominence as a powerful militia chief whose fighters battled U.S. troops after the 2003 invasion.

Sadr's ascendancy comes at the expense of incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the preferred candidate of the United States, who came in third overall.

Iraqi officials say the strikes are being conducted in coordination with - and with the approval of - the Syrian government.

It included full returns from only 10 of the country's 19 provinces, including the provinces of Baghdad and Basra.

On Saturday, Iraqis voted in the country's first parliamentary election since 2014.

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

Sadr's father, highly respected Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr, was murdered in 1999 for defying Saddam Hussein.

The electoral commission of Iraq announced that 44.5 percent of those eligible had cast their ballots in the elections. Despite that, al-Sadr's sophisticated political machine mobilized his loyal base of followers to go to the polls.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose country still has troops in Iraq from the fight with IS, on Saturday lauded the poll and called for an "inclusive government, responsive to the needs of all Iraqis".

No one group is expected to win the 165 seats required for an outright majority.

Political power in Iraq is traditionally divided along sectarian lines among the offices of prime minister, president and parliament speaker.

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