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16 May 2018, 12:39 | Floyd Cook
Moqtada al-Sadr poised for victory in Iraqi election
However, Sadr's coalition looks unlikely to win enough seats to form a government in its own right, and is likely to begin talks with other candidates to name a new prime minister.
During the Iraq War, Sadr was a fierce opponent of USA forces in the country, and his followers also clashed with Sunnis in sectarian fighting.
Projecting himself as an Iraqi nationalist, Sadr has a zealous following among the young, poor and dispossessed, but he had been sidelined by influential Iran-backed figures.
Iraqi Vice President and former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki shows his ink-stained finger after casting his vote at a polling station during the parliamentary election in Baghdad.
Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's coalition was deemed the preliminary victor of the race by the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC).
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.
Within the cleric's impoverished Sadr Metropolis neighbourhood in Baghdad residents mentioned they have been hoping for enhancements after the elections. It will be clear in the next a few days whether his alliance can convince other Iraqi blocs to jointly form a government or whether it is possible that the regional powers will intervene once again and support their proxies to lead Iraq for another four years.
Responding to Mr Abadi's comments, Mr Al Sadr described his victory as "an achievement for the Iraqi people and its national entitlement".
Members of the nationalelection commission read out vote tallies for each candidate list in each of the 10 provinces on national TV.
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.
The electoral commission said it would release the remainder of the results on Tuesday.
Seats in parliament will be allocated proportionately to coalitions once all votes are counted.
Iraqi Shiite cleric and leader Moqtada al-Sadr puts his ballot through an electronic counting machine into a ballot box at poll station in the central holy city of Najaf. Dozens of alliances ran for office, and months of negotiations are expected before any one alliance can pull together the 165 required seats.
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