Fiery cleric ahead in Iraq election surprise

Security was tight at polling stations in Baghdad during Saturday's vote

Security was tight at polling stations in Baghdad during Saturday's vote

Mustering a government the people can trust and that can heal the great ethnosectarian divide is no easy feat and nearly 7,000 candidates from dozens of rival alliances vying for just 329 seats in the assembly, sums up this hard undertaking.Even the unified Shiite parliamentary bloc, led by the Dawa Party, which allowed current Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to assume power from Nouri al-Maliki in 2014 has splintered into five competing factions.

Also at issue is how to integrate the country's vast and predominantly Shiite militia structure into the security forces. The PMF launched its own candidates in parliamentary races.

The electoral commission of Iraq announced that 44.5 percent of those eligible had cast their ballots in the elections.

Final poll results are expected to be announced sometime later this week.

According to Rudaw, "Sadr's apparent victory in Baghdad could have an impact as Shiite-dominated Iraq seeks to form a coalition government after Ramadan", which begins on Tuesday. Iraq's many political factions mean a government may only be formed after drawn out negotiations.

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. One such slogan was "Arab Iraq".

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Saturday's vote was the first in the holder of the world's fifth-largest proven reserves of crude oil since the jihadists' proto-state was largely dismantled. His popularity has grown steadily over the past decade.

The surprisingly strong showing of a ticket backed by maverick Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in Iraqi elections over the weekend will force United States officials to recalculate how best to pursue American interests in the region at an especially sensitive moment. The occupation reportedly took place for 24 hours before the protesters were instructed by al-Sadr to leave in an orderly fashion to participate in a Shiite pilgrimage ritual. The result is that long after the elections have finished, the embittered Iraqi divide will be bickering and jostling for months to form a government.

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. Participated in the elections 6990 candidates from 87 parties.

During a televised speech on Monday, Abadi called on all political parties to accept the results of the Iraqi parliamentary elections, expressing his readiness for the formation of the next administration.

Abadi, who has maintained good relations with both the United States and Iran, could still have a senior role in a governing coalition. Because al-Sadr did not run for a seat, he can not become prime minister, but his deputies in parliament are expected to follow his directives. While former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law Alliance hopes to garner enough votes to affect the post-election coalition calculus.One common theme among the coalition blocs is the attempt to portray their blocs as cross-sectarian.

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