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Fiery cleric Sadr taps anger over Iran to lead Iraq poll
15 May 2018, 10:33 | Darnell Patrick
Firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr whose militia killed British and US troops during Iraq War leads race to be country's
Iraqi military aircraft have pounded a strategic position of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in Syria's northeastern province of Hasakah as Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi pledges to continue airstrikes on the strongholds of the extremists in the neighboring war-ravaged country.
Analysts say he also benefited from his ability to command a fiercely loyal base in an election that saw historically low turnout.
Election officials Sunday night released results for ten of Iraq's 19 provinces, accounting for more than half the vote.
After the announcement that the Marching Towards Reform was ahead in Baghdad, supporters took to the streets in the capital to celebrate early Monday.
"We, in accordance with the Iraqi Constitution, will take full responsibility to lead the country, protect it, and defend its unity, interest, and sovereignty until the formation of the new government", Abadi stated. Sadr has reinvented himself as an anti-graft crusader after rising to prominence as a powerful militia chief whose fighters battled USA forces after the 2003 invasion.
In the cleric's impoverished Sadr City neighbourhood in Baghdad residents said they were hoping for improvements after the elections. "As we work together, we follow the principle of partnership to ensure safety and harmony between allies", Iraqi Ministry of Defense spokesman Tahseen al-Khafaji said late last month.
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Mr. Sadr has called for a secular government of technocrats who will respect the rule of law and civil society.
The election came as the country deals with the disenfranchisement of the country's Sunni minority. Despite this, Abadi's Nasr (Victory) party did not prove victorious in Saturday's election.
Increasingly, however, it is Sadr's relationship with Tehran that has come to define his political identity. Incumbent Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, who had sought to reach across Iraq's sectarian divides, was trailing.
Abadi was seen by some Iraqis as lacking charisma and as ineffective. Other political leaders in Baghdad voted at the luxury Rasheed Hotel behind the concrete walls of the green zone, the seat of government power.
Amiri's Badr organisation played a key role in the battle against Islamic State. Like the United States, Iran will now also have to recalibrate how to advance its interests in Iraq, where Sadr's independence has made him attractive to some of Iran's rivals in the Arab world.
Al-Amiri's Fatah Coalition, now in second place, has close ties to Iran.
Indonesian family that bombed churches well off, friendly
On that same day, police said they later detonated four bombs found in the house of the family who carried out the bombings. However, hundreds of Indonesians have flocked in recent years to fight alongside the militant group there.