Sadr eyes Govt as poll upset rocks Iraq

Populist Cleric Sadr All but Wins Majority in Iraq Election

Populist Cleric Sadr All but Wins Majority in Iraq Election

Counting was still ongoing three days after the first parliamentary poll since the defeat of the Islamic State group, but the fiery Shiite preacher´s grouping was in the lead with 16 of 18 provinces tallied.

Describing Abadi as a figure who has the support of both Iran and the United States, Shargh wrote, "Even though Abadi achieved significant domestic and global success through the victory over Daesh [Islamic State], he failed to overcome economic problems, and this caused him not to achieve the results he expected in this election".

A political outlier before Saturday's ballot, Sadr is best known for leading the "fearsome" Mehdi Army in two insurgencies against USA troops in Iraq, following the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

On Tuesday, PM Abadi said there should be a recount if the country's new electronic system is found to be faulty.

Those thought to be referred to are al-Hikma, al-Wataniya, Irada, New Generation, Gorran (Change), al-Qarrar, Bayariq, al-Nasr (Victory), Baghdad Alliance, Hawiyatuna, Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), and Kawadir. Though this started with claims of mistakes in Kirkuk, Abadi wants it expanded nationwide.

The final results are due to be announced later on Monday, triggering what are expected to be lengthy negotiations to form a new coalition government.

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

Seats in parliament will be allocated proportionately to coalitions once all votes are counted. The Iranian-backed Shi'ite militia chief Hadi al-Amiri came in second with about 1.2 million votes and will control 47 seats.

The elections on Saturday - hit by record abstentions - saw a clear rejection of the Iraqi elite that has run the country since the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

After the announcement of the partial election results, supporters took to the streets of Baghdad's Sadr City district - named after his late father - to celebrate.

Political power in Iraq is traditionally divided along sectarian lines among the offices of prime minister, president and parliament speaker.

He can not become prime minister as he did not run in the election, though his apparent victory puts him in a position to pick someone for the job. Almost 2,600 women ran for office this year.

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