Sadr, whose forces fought US troops in 2004, appears to be the big victor in Iraq's parliamentary elections, according to media reports.
An alliance spearheaded by nationalist cleric Moqtada Sadr looked on course Monday, May 14, for a surprise triumph at Iraq's first nationwide election since the defeat of the Islamic State group (IS, formerly known as ISIS or the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq). Dozens of alliances ran for office, and months of negotiations are expected before any one alliance can pull together the 165 required seats.
Nineveh is Iraq's second largest province after Baghdad, which went to a list organized by the influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
PM Abadi heads the Nasr Coalition (Victory of Iraq), its name capitalising on his government's victory over ISIL in 2017.
Al-Sadr commands his own militia that fought against IS militants, but he has disavowed any Iranian and USA influence in Iraq, and he has called for the full withdrawal of US troops.
Remembered for leading an insurgency against US forces and inciting sectarian bloodshed against the Sunni population, al-Sadr has in recent years sought to recast himself as a populist, railing against corruption and failing services and striking a political alliance with Iraq's secularists and Communist Party. Iran has publicly stated it will not allow his bloc to govern. His rivals were seen as Maliki and Amiri, both closer than Abadi to Iran, which has wide sway in Iraq as the primary Shi'ite power in the region.
Whoever wins the election will have to contend with the fallout from U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to quit Iran's nuclear deal, a move Iraqis fear could turn their country into a theatre of conflict between Washington and Tehran.
Sadr ran a campaign of Arab nationalism, uniting Shiites but rejecting the intervention of Persian Shiites in Iraq political affairs. However, ahead of Saturday's national election, he distanced himself from Iran. Fahmy told his party's website that Abadi's bloc was "closer" to Sadr's than others.
Those veteran politicians include al-Abadi, who was widely expected to win the election, and who is a moderate Shiite, the dominant group.
In a further political upset, a rival bloc of pro-Iranian former fighters appeared to be coming in second, squeezing internationally favoured prime minister Haider al-Abadi into third.
Since al-Sadr did not run in the election, he can not become prime minister.
Abadi has clearly supported the presence of USA troops. He received US military support that was helped the victory of Iraqi security forces over the Sunni militant group, and gave free rein to Iran to back Shia militias fighting on the same side. We can not guarantee that it is suitable for the visually or hearing impaired.
"I call on Iraqis to respect the results of the elections,"he said".
In this election, many voters abandoned their traditional divisions and supported two new political movements groups that promised to tackle a pervasive everyday problem: corruption.
Though Sadr's ticket, called Sairoon, or Marching Forward, defied expectations in Saturday's election, this was the culmination of his long effort to rebrand himself as a centrist.
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