Sadr eyes Govt as poll upset rocks Iraq

Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force commander General Qassem Soleimani

Although al-Sadr won't be prime minister because he himself didn't run in the election, he will have the power to name the next leader-and this could seriously influence Iraq's politics and policies.

Remembered for leading an insurgency against USA forces and inciting sectarian bloodshed against the Sunni population, al-Sadr has in recent years sought to recast himself as a populist, railing against corruption and failing services and striking a political alliance with Iraq's secularists and Communist Party.

Al-Sadr commands the devotion of millions of Iraqis who have sent their sons and husbands to fight for his militia from the early days of the USA occupation. The elections were held Saturday, with low turnout.

Sadr has reinvented himself as an anti-graft crusader after rising to prominence as a strong militia chief whose group waged a bloody insurgency towards United States forces after the 2003 invasion.

Nationalist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Sairoon Coalition achieved an upset victory, in what has been described as a repudiation of both U.S. and Iranian influence in Iraq.

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.

Al-Abadi has thus far allowed American military into Iraq to stage and fight ISIS and other terror groups.

The electoral commission said it would release the remainder of the results on Tuesday.

"I can just say the independent high electoral commission - that's basically the Iraqi equivalent of the federal election commission - they are investigating". Al-Abadi's Nasr (Victory) Coalition was considered the front-runner, but ended up in third place.

Al-Abadi said at the least, a manual recount should be held in the northern province of Kirkuk after accusations of fraud and faulty machines were made there.

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.

While speculation swirls, the next concrete step remains completing the vote count and firming up the final makeup of Iraq's new 329-seat parliament.

Celebrations erupted in Baghdad's Sadr City, an impoverished quarter that is home to some 3 million people and is named after the cleric's late father, Ayatollah Mohammad Sadq al-Sadr.

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