Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Moqtada al-Sadr poised for victory in Iraqi election

Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force commander General Qassem Soleimani Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force commander General Qassem Soleimani
Jay Anderson | 16 May, 2018, 14:02

Nationalist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Sairoon Coalition achieved an upset victory, in what has been described as a repudiation of both United States and Iranian influence in Iraq.

Nationalist Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is now on course to win the largest number of seats after the Iraqi election.

The surprising upset in elections this weekend by Mr. Sadr's unlikely alliance of communists, Sunni businessmen and pious community activists comes amid long-simmering anger at the established politicians who have controlled government since Iraq's first democratic election in 2005 after the fall of dictator Saddam Hussein.

"So we will wait and see the results - the final results of the election". Former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a close ally of Iran like Amiri, came in fourth with around 25 seats.

Sadr rose to prominence in the wake of the USA invasion, when his militia fighters fought a bloody insurgency against American troops.

Explaining the factors behind Sadr's victory, the Reformist daily noted, "Muqtada al-Sadr, who has lately shifted his policies and turned to Riyadh, took advantage of combating corruption in his competition with his rivals and also maintained his own traditional supporters".




"If we want to change things then the prime minister needs to come from Marching Towards Reform", said Salah Jamal, 24.

The protracted horse-trading ahead comes as surging tensions between the USA and Iran after Washington's withdrawal from a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran have sparked fears of a tug-of-war over Iraq. Sadr has been very critical of the presence of foreign troops in Iraq, which may have an impact on the future of U.S. deployments in the country.

Sadr is likely to face fierce opposition from established political forces, who may look to coalesce in a bid to stop him taking control.

Iranian officials have already stated they will block Sadr's coalition.

A participant in the meetings told AFP: "Soleimani has reportedly called for a union between Abadi's bloc, the Conquest Alliance of former anti-ISIS commander Hadi al Ameri and former premier Nouri al-Maliki". The country is also waiting to hear results from Kirkuk, an oil-rich city disputed by Baghdad and Iraq's northern, autonomous Kurdish administration.

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

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