Cleric al-Sadr leads in early vote results

Cleric al-Sadr leads in early vote results

The news of al-Sadr's lead was widely reported by many major media outlets. He rose to prominence in Iraq after the 2003 US -led overthrow of Saddam Hussein when he commanded a militia that fought American troops.

Iraqi election authorities meant to announce more official results Monday.

Election officials said that full final results could be announced in the next 24 hours.

Several parties, including those following Sadr's leadership, have committed themselves to a vision of a non-sectarian and technocratic government.

Since al-Sadr did not run in the election, he can not become prime minister. But even then, his bloc might not necessarily form the next government.

Security officials imposed a curfew from midnight to 6 a.m. Sunday in Kirkuk's governate as a result.

Saturday's vote was the first in the holder of the world's fifth-largest proven reserves of crude oil since the jihadists' proto-state was largely dismantled.

Nevertheless, the terrorist group appears to still maintain an active presence in certain part of northern and western Iraq.

Turnout was 44.52 percent with 92 percent of votes counted, the Independent High Electoral Commission said - that was significantly lower than in previous elections.

Shia cleric Muqtada al Sadr and an amalgam made up of pro-Iranian militia led by Hadi al Ameri surge in surprise results from Iraq's national election.

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The Taliban and IS have made clear their intentions to disrupt the elections. More explosions were then heard coming from inside the building, he added.

The elections commission has announced results from 16 of Iraq's 19 provinces. The commission gave no indication on when further results would be announced.

Seats in parliament will be allocated proportionately to coalitions once all votes are counted. While many disillusioned Iraqis boycotted the vote, Mr Al Sadr's supporters could be relied upon to mobilise, said senior research fellow at London-based think tank Chatham House Renad Mansour. The Prime Minister is ahead in just one province, AFP figures showed.

The remaining uncounted ballots, mostly from Iraqis overseas, the security services, and internally displaced people voting in camps and elsewhere, might change the final seat tallies but only marginally. This opens the doors for various other blocs with a significant number of seats to align with Abadi and seek significant concessions in the process.

The same fate could befall Sadr.

Sadr first came to prominence as a preacher in the weeks after the USA invasion of Iraq, in 2003, opposing the US-led occupation. In Abadi's past year as leader, ISIS has been banished and Kurdish independence quelled, but it hasn't translated into a first-place showing.

They are both long-time political veterans well known to Iraqis.

The sources added that Suri was "in charge of recruiting attackers and dispatching them to Iraq to carry out bomb attacks there". Fahmy told his party's website that Abadi's bloc was "closer" to Sadr's than others. Authorities are seeking as much as $88 billion for postwar reconstruction. His fathers cousin, Mohammed Baqir, was killed by Saddam in 1980.

Tensions in the region have mounted — in particular between the United States and Iran — partly because of President Donald Trumps decision last week to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Tehran.

Abadi - who came to power as Daesh swept across Iraq in 2014 - has been a consensus figure who balanced off the United States and Iran.

A Pentagon spokesman told Eric Pahon that the US government does not support any particular Iraqi candidate or party.

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