Despite preliminary election result loss, Abadi says ready to form government

Pauline Gross
May 15, 2018

Election officials Sunday night released results for ten of Iraq's 19 provinces, accounting for more than half the vote. While going from that to a 165-seat majority is a long road, Sadr's election performance, and decisive victory in Baghdad district, shows a major shift in Iraqi politics.

Whoever wins the most seats still must negotiate a coalition government, which must be formed within 90 days of the results being formally announced.

The 2018 election has been dominated by five Shia coalitions, most notably the Dawa Party, which has split between the Nasr coalition and the State of Law coalition, the Fatah coalition, Sairoon, and the Hikma coalition.

Sadr has a zealous following among the young, poor and dispossessed but had been sidelined by influential Iranian-backed figures.

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. The PMF launched its own candidates in parliamentary races.

Sadr's Mahdi Army militia fought US forces after the USA invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Al-Sadr's Mahdi army was once heavily reliant on Iran.

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Fahmy told his party's website that Abadi was "closer" to Sadr's block than the other main contenders.

To enable this, his movement effectively exploited the network set up by his father, Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr, who was assassinated in 1999 during the period of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship.

Hadi al-Amiri is the head of one of Iraq's most powerful Shia paramilitary groups backed by Tehran, whose forces ended up battling alongside the U.S. to oust Daesh militants.

Abadi, a rare ally of both the United States and Iran, came in third in six provinces but ran fifth in Baghdad.

The Iraqi air force has already carried out several air strikes against Islamic State in Syria since a year ago, with the approval of the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad and the US -led coalition fighting Islamic State. His rivals were seen as Maliki and Amiri, both closer than Abadi to Iran, which has wide sway in Iraq as the primary Shi'ite power in the region. He also toured Erbil and Kirkuk in Kurdistan in a bid for support.

Abadi has clearly supported the presence of United States troops.

Al-Sadr did not run for a seat in parliament and can not become prime minister. Candidates who aspire to take the helm of the fragile and fragmented Iraqi Parliament will have to play a tough balancing act.

Other reports by GizPress

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