Iraq election thrown wide open as outsider alliances show strength
17 May, 2018, 02:01
Supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr flooded the streets of the Baghdad district named for the Shiite cleric's family.
An alliance of candidates linked to Iraq's powerful Shia paramilitary groups was in second. A ticket led by the commander of a Shia militia close to Iran came in second.
According to the same source, the Al-Wataniya coalition, led by Iyad Allawi, won 29 seats; the State of Law coalition, led by Nuri al-Maliki, picked up 24 seats; the Kurdistan Democratic Party, led by Masoud Barzani, clinched 23 seats; the National Wisdom Movement, led by Ammar al-Hakim, won 22 seats; and the Al-Qarar coalition, led by Osama al-Nujaifi, captured 18 seats.
But despite improved security, Iraq is still struggling to rebuild itself after four years of war against IS, the BBC's Martin Patience in Baghdad says.
It included full returns from only 10 of the country's 19 provinces, including the provinces of Baghdad and Basra.
A Pentagon spokesman told Eric Pahon that the US government does not support any particular Iraqi candidate or party. He was followed by Amiri with more than 1.2 million votes, translating into 47 seats, and Abadi with more than 1 million votes and 42 seats.
Seats in parliament will be allocated proportionately to coalitions once all votes are counted.
The sources cited unofficial initial results.
A couple show their ink-stained fingers after casting their votes in the country’s parliamentary elections in Baghdad
As in Muqtada al Sadr, the Shiite cleric who is best known as a one-time - and possibly future - US foe who may have finally outfoxed the Americans, Iranians, and Iraq's political elite to become the supreme political power in Iraq. Sadr has kept Tehran at a distance.
Al Sadr commanded fighters in the war against the Daesh group and headed a powerful militia that fought U.S. forces in Iraq prior to 2011, but his 2018 campaign focused on social issues and eliminating government corruption.
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.
Sadr has a zealous following among the young, poor and dispossessed but had been sidelined by influential Iranian-backed figures.
People in Iraq voted Saturday in the first parliamentary elections since the country declared victory over ISIS terrorist group.
The ballot Saturday saw a record low turnout, as only 44.5 percent of eligible voters headed to the polls in the lowest participation rate since the 2003 US-led ouster of Saddam Hussein.
Whatever the outcome, there looks set to be lengthy horse-trading between the main political forces before any new premier and a coalition government can be installed.
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. Most are predominantly Shia or Sunni, though the Kurds have their own lists.
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