Iranian media react to populist cleric's victory in Iraq elections

16 May, 2018, 14:03 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Iranian media react to populist cleric's victory in Iraq elections

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi came in first in Iraq's second largest province, Nineveh, but he has performed poorly in the rest of the country, coming in third and fourth place in most provinces and fifth in Baghdad.

Shiite scholar Moqtada al-Sadr, who heads the unit "In motion", won at the parliamentary elections in Iraq, announced with whom he will negotiate.

USA -backed Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi tallied just over 1 million votes and will control 42 seats, and former US puppet Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki - who turned on the US and cozied up to Iran - placed fourth and holds about 25 seats.

Populist Shiite religious scholar Moqtada Sadr Tuesday eyed a governing coalition after dealing a blow to both Iranian and USA influence with a shock election triumph that upended Iraqi politics.

Sadr's bloc did not run in the remaining two provinces, Kurdish Dohuk and the ethnically mixed oil province of Kirkuk.

As Kurdistan 24 points out, al-Sadr has "far fewer ties to Tehran than Soleimani's clear preferred victor, Al-Fatih Coalition leader Hadi al-Amiri", which is likely the reason for Soleimani's visit-to form Iraq's next government.

"We are ready to work and cooperate in forming the strongest government for Iraq, free of corruption", Abadi said in a live televised address.

US embassy violence sparks fear Trump is roiling Mideast                         Read more
US embassy violence sparks fear Trump is roiling Mideast Read more

The initiative could trump Sadr's own coalition-building efforts but it risks angering the cleric's supporters who are yearning for a clampdown on corruption among establishment figures.

Abadi offered a statement of congratulations to Sadr for his victory, and for encouraging a secure atmosphere during the vote.

O'Neill warned that such a situation could be tenuous if America's former "enemy number one" is able to choose the next prime minister. The government should be formed within 90 days of the official results.

Turnout was 44.52 percent with 92 percent of votes counted, the Independent High Electoral Commission said, the lowest participation rate in Iraq's post-Saddam history. They suggest Iraqis increasingly want to move towards civic-based politics that encompass people regardless of their background and sect.

The elections commission has announced results from 16 of Iraq's 19 provinces.

O'Neill said al-Sadr cleverly renamed his "Mahdi Army" the "Peace Brigade" and said the name can be easily used as a propaganda tool to hurt people like Trump who oppose it. The other winning blocs would have to agree on the nomination.

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