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16 May 2018, 02:06 | Darnell Patrick
US embassy violence sparks fear Trump is roiling Mideast Read more
Shia rivals of Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi have made big gains in Saturday's parliamentary elections, partial results suggest, according to the BBC NEws report on Monday.
Moqtada al-Sadr, the Shia cleric whose Mahdi Army bloodied the nose of the US military in the battle of Fallujah in 2004 that left eight Kellogg, Brown and Root transport drivers and three USA soldiers dead and who was considered an "outlaw", has won Iraq's parliamentary election.
Abadi, who is the preferred candidate of the United States, looks set to come in third behind the Fatah (Conquest) alliance, led by former transport minister Hadi al-Amiri, who presides over the political wings of several Shia-led paramilitary forces.
Projecting himself as an Iraqi nationalist, Sadr has a zealous following among the young, poor, and dispossessed among Shia Iraqis, but had been sidelined by influential Iran-backed figures.
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Sadr fled to Iran before a government crackdown on the Mehdi Army, but has since moved to distance himself from Iran.
Since he did not run for a seat, he will not be eligible for the role.
Turnout was 44.52 percent with 92 percent of votes counted, the Independent High Electoral Commission said, the lowest participation rate in Iraq's post-Saddam history. The Iranian-backed Shi'ite militia chief Hadi al-Amiri came in second with about 1.2 million votes and will control 47 seats. Despite a third place finish, Abadi could potentially still remain prime minister after the government coalition is formed. Of more than 2 million Iraqis displaced by the war, the majority are Sunnis. The other winning blocs would have to agree on the nomination.
At elections in 2010, the Iraqi National Movement of Ayad Allawi - loathed by Iran - scooped 91 seats to become the biggest group in parliament. Iran has publicly stated it will not allow his bloc to govern.
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