Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr’s bloc wins Iraq elections


Tehran: An alliance headed by former Shia militia chief Moqtada Sadr who led two uprisings against the US-led invasion of Iraq has won the parliamentary elections by obtaining 54 seats, the Electoral Commission said on Saturday.

According to the final results, incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was in third place with 42 while the pro-Iranian Fatah alliance was second with 47 seats.

The State of Law coalition led by former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki won 25 seats, while the National Alliance of Ayad Allawi got 21, the BBC reported.

In the Iraqi northern provinces, the two main Kurdish parties won the most seats, as the Kurdistan Democratic Party got 25 while the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan obtained 18.

Sadr, a long-term adversary of the US, cannot become Prime Minister himself as he did not stand as a candidate, according to the BBC report. However, he was expected to play a major role in forming the new government.

Sadr has reinvented himself as an anti-corruption champion after making his name as a militia chief fighting US forces after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He is also a fierce critic of Iran.

He also campaigned on a platform of investing in public services.

Whoever is named Prime Minister will have to oversee the reconstruction of Iraq following the battle against IS, which seized control of large parts of the country in 2014.

International donors pledged $30 billion in February but Iraqi officials estimated that as much as $100 billion was required. More than 20,000 homes and businesses were destroyed in the second city of Mosul alone.

Over two million Iraqis are still displaced across the country and IS militants continue to mount deadly attacks despite having lost control of the territory they once held.

Turnout at the May 12 election was only 44.5 per cent — much lower than in previous elections.