Sadr calls for broad coalition following Iraq election 'win'

Frederick Owens
May 16, 2018

The front-runner in Iraqi elections, the populist Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, wasted little time trying to prove to potential allies that he is serious about shaking up the government and cleaning up corruption as he worked to cobble together a governing coalition.

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.

Influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Monday revealed potential political allies needed to form a new government following Saturday's as-of-yet inconclusive elections.

Sadr fled to Iran before a government crackdown on the Mehdi Army, but has since moved to distance himself from Iran.

Sadr is an Iraqi nationalist who opposes both the USA and Iran meddling in Iraqi affairs.

Sadr will not become prime minister, as he wasn't on the ballot, but a victory would allow him to appoint someone to the post.

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

Voter turnout was at a low 44 percent, 15 percent lower than the turnout in the 2014 parliamentary elections.

He was followed by Amiri with more than 1.2 million votes, translating into around 47 seats, and Abadi with more than 1 million votes and about 42 seats.

Will not enter the coalition and the movement "For the rule of law", headed by former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. The commission gave no indication on when further results would be announced. The other winning blocks, though, will have to approve his nomination.

Political sources told AFP that two meetings have been held under Iranian guidance to bring together several political blocs.

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