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Iraq election thrown open as outsider alliances appear strong

14 May, 2018, 13:20 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • Disillusioned Iraqi Voters Decide to Stay Home

The elections held Saturday were the first since Iraq declared victory over Islamic State fighters and the fourth since the 2003 US -led toppling of Saddam Hussein.

With most votes depended, a bloc led by cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and another headed by a militia leader are ahead, voting officers have been quoted as stating. The group's remnants, though, keep staging sporadic attacks across Iraq. They say it may have been a record low. It was the first since Iraq declared victory over the Islamic State group and the fourth since the 2003 USA -led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

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.

Members of the national election commission read out vote tallies for each candidate list in each of the 10 provinces on national TV.

Two populist Shia leaders were thought to be fighting for second place behind Mr Abadi, who is also from a traditional Shia background.

Abadi, a Shi'a who has sought to balance the competing influence of Washington and Tehran, finished third in six provinces but came in fifth in the capital.

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Iraqi President Fuad Masum, center, casts his vote in the country's parliamentary elections in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, May 12, 2018. After 10 provinces were read out, Sadr's list had the highest popular vote.

Sadr's parties have at times been meaningful opposition figures, but if the current trend continues Prime Minister Hayder Abadi might fall a distant third place, setting the stage for a dramatic change in the structure of Iraq's government.

According to Iraqi electoral commission on early Monday, Sadr's alliance with communists is closely followed by the Conquest Alliance led by former PMU commander Hadi al-Ameri.

Any political party or alliance must gain a majority of Iraq's 329 seats in parliament to be able to choose a prime minister and form a government. He had no powerful political machine of his own when he took office.

Whoever wins the most seats still must negotiate a coalition government, which must be formed within 90 days of the election. Since the first elections following the 2003 US -led toppling of Saddam Hussein, the Shiite majority has held the position of prime minister, while the Kurds have held the presidency and the Sunnis have held the post of parliament speaker.



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