Iraq prime minister wins vote in Mosul province

Mouqtada Sadr during the general election in Baghdad on Monday

According to preliminary figures released by IHEC, the prime minister did poorly in the election, with his Al-Nasr Alliance trailing behind the party of surprise victor cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and that of militia leader Hadi al-Amiri, which came in second.

Sadr for now appears to be ruling out an alliance with two other powerful forces inside Iraq: the Iran-backed Conquest Alliance of former anti-IS paramilitary fighters and ex-premier Maliki.

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.

Meanwhile, conservative Tasnim News Agency reported on May 15 that Sadr is seeking to reach a coalition with Ammar al-Hakim's Hikma (National Wisdom Movement) and Iyad Allawi's Iraqi National Alliance Coalition to form a "technocrat" government.

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.

He can not become prime minister as he did not run in the election, though his apparent victory puts him in a position to pick someone for the job.

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"We are ready to work and cooperate in forming the strongest government for Iraq, free of corruption", Abadi said in a live televised address.

Seats in parliament will be allocated proportionally to coalitions once all votes are counted. Of more than 2 million Iraqis displaced by the war, the majority are Sunnis.

"Some political parties are suspicious of the elections results [in the Kurdistan Region], and the KDP is suspicious of the results in Sulaimani Province", read a statement, released to the press.

The final results are due to be announced later on Monday, triggering what are expected to be lengthy negotiations to form a new coalition government. Also at issue is the influence of Iran on the country: Iranian-backed Shiite militias who played a key role in defeating IS and were allied with the Shiite-led Baghdad government made significant electoral gains.

Celebrations erupted in Baghdad's Sadr City, an impoverished quarter that is home to about 3 million people and is named after the cleric's father, Ayatollah Mohammed Sadeq al-Sadr, who was killed by suspected agents of Saddam Hussein in 1999.

Iraqi national elections were held on Saturday and 44 percent of eligible voters headed to the polls.

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