Iraq election: Shia rivals of PM Abadi 'make gains'

15 May, 2018, 15:27 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Iraq Prime Minister Abadi appears ahead in poll, Sadr strong: sources

As in Muqtada al Sadr, the Shiite cleric who is best known as a one-time - and possibly future - US foe who may have finally outfoxed the Americans, Iranians, and Iraq's political elite to become the supreme political power in Iraq.

Several senior political figures had previously told AFP that preliminary results put Abadi in the lead, on course to scoop 60 of the 329 parliament seats up for grabs.

The commission did not announce how many seats each bloc had gained and said it would do so after announcing the results from the remaining provinces.

As a result, he can argue that he is the only credible politician representing a "national coalition" - but he would so from a much weaker position, said Kirk Sowell, the publisher of Inside Iraqi Politics, a newsletter.

The same fate could befall Sadr.

Widespread disillusionment with Iraq's current political class appears to have helped the political coalition of Muqtada al Sadr become the early front-runner in national elections.

Mr Sadr himself rebranded as a secular nationalist, campaigning against corruption and for reform, a message which seemed to resonate with Iraqis exhausted of entrenched sectarianism and graft.


Multiple Shi'ite blocs dominate Iraq's political scene, and are historically all cozy with the nation's two main allies, Iran and the US. Iran has publicly stated it will not allow his bloc to govern.

"Everybody is welcome to provide support to Iraq, but not at the expense of its sovereignty and independence", he added.

"This vote is a clear message that the people want to change the system of governance that has produced corruption and weakened state institutions", said Fahmy. "Iraq first, eradicate corruption, and a technocratic government". That would offer a lifeline to Abadi, if he can work out an agreement with Sadr and other reform-minded parties that won handfuls of seats.

Sadr's father, highly respected Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr, was murdered in 1999 for defying Saddam Hussein.

Abadi, a British-educated engineer, came to power four years ago after Islamic State seized a third of Iraq's territory. He also has said he is open to USA training of Iraq's military and regularly meets with US diplomats in Baghdad.

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.

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