Sadr eyes Govt as poll upset rocks Iraq

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Describing Abadi as a figure who has the support of both Iran and the United States, Shargh wrote, "Even though Abadi achieved significant domestic and worldwide success through the victory over Daesh [Islamic State], he failed to overcome economic problems, and this caused him not to achieve the results he expected in this election".

The remaining uncounted ballots, mostly from Iraqis overseas, the security services, and internally displaced people voting in camps and elsewhere, might change the final seat tallies but only marginally.

Also at issue is how to integrate the country's vast and predominantly Shiite militia structure into the security forces.

Nationalist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Sairoon Coalition achieved an upset victory, in what has been described as a repudiation of both USA and Iranian influence in Iraq. His former Mahdi Army fought American forces for years.

Al-Abadi's signature achievement was expelling Islamic State militants from Mosul, a Nineveh city, in 2017.

But more importantly, "Al-Sadr is an interesting character because he has very, very hard relations with the USA but increasingly hard relationships with the Iranians as well", Croft said.

On Tuesday, PM Abadi said there should be a recount if the country's new electronic system is found to be faulty.

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

As Kurdistan 24 points out, al-Sadr has "far fewer ties to Tehran than Soleimani's clear preferred victor, Al-Fatih Coalition leader Hadi al-Amiri", which is likely the reason for Soleimani's visit-to form Iraq's next government.

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.

After the announcement that the Marching In the direction of Reform was forward in Baghdad, supporters took to the streets within the capital to rejoice early Monday.

Influential Shia cleric Muqtada al Sadr's group were declared the winners of the Iraqi election after votes in 16 of 18 provinces were tallied.

Al-Abadi directed Iraqi forces to retake the city late a year ago after the Kurdish regional administration organized a referendum on independence that controversially included Kirkuk; federal forces moved in with little bloodshed as Kurdish forces withdrew.

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