Iraq PM Congratulates Sadr on Election Win, Suggests Need for Recount

5 things you need to know now

5 things you need to know now

Despite winning the popular vote and controlling the most seats, Sadr will not become prime minister because he did not run in the election, but his victory puts him in position to choose someone for the job. The country is also waiting to hear results from Kirkuk, an oil-rich city disputed by Baghdad and Iraq's northern, autonomous Kurdish administration.

Populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, a long-time adversary of the United States, has all but won Iraq's parliamentary election, the electoral commission said, in a surprise turn of fortune for the Shiite leader.

O'Neill said al-Sadr cleverly renamed his "Mahdi Army" the "Peace Brigade" and said the name can be easily used as a propaganda tool to hurt people like Trump who oppose it.

Whereas lengthy railing towards the U.S., the populist firebrand has additionally distanced himself from its key rival Iran, drawing nearer to regional Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia. The results there, which may be delayed due to tensions between local parties, will not affect Sadr's standing.

Al-Sadr said in Tweet that he was open to forming a coalition with al-Abadi to form a new government for Iraq.

But even then, his bloc might not necessarily form the next government.

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"Given the unexpected results that Nasr achieved, the chance of Abadi becoming the [next] prime minister has decreased, especially since the [coalition] under his leadership came in fifth in Baghdad", argued Tasnim. Whoever wins the most seats must negotiate a coalition government in order to have a majority in parliament. The group overran a third of Iraq in 2014.

According to Iraq's official election commission, some 10.8 million Iraqis - out of 24 million eligible voters - took part in the vote, representing a turnout of 44.5 percent.

He announced Tuesday on state television that it was the responsibility of Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) to conduct the recount to determine accurate results, citing high-profile charges of vote tampering in the disputed province of Kirkuk.

"I call on Iraqis to respect the results of the elections", he said.

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.

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