Saturday, October 16, 2021

Iraq: Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s party ‘biggest winner’ in parliamentary election

In Iraq, Shi’ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s party is the biggest winner in an Iraqi parliamentary election. His party has increased the number of its seats from 54 in 2018 to 73 this time in the 329-member parliament, according to initial results.
However, with 94 percent of the ballot boxes counted, none of the competing political blocs appeared on track to win a majority in parliament and consequently name a Prime Minister. Kurdish parties have won 61 seats. Sunni parliament speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi’s Taqaddum coalition won 38 seats. Former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State Of Law coalition came third overall with 37.
Sadr broadcast a live speech on state TV claiming victory and promising a nationalist government free of foreign interference. He said they welcome all embassies that do not interfere in Iraq’s internal affairs.
Iraq’s Shi’ite groups have dominated governments and government formation since the US-led invasion of 2003 that toppled Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein.
Voter turnout was 41 percent, a record low in the post-Saddam Hussein era.
Sunday’s election was held several months early, in response to mass protests in 2019 that toppled a government and showed widespread anger against political leaders whom many Iraqis say have enriched themselves at the expense of the country.

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