Muqtada al-Sadr bloc confirmed big winner of Iraq’s election

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The final election results confirm the victory of Muktada al-Sadr, a prominent Shia leader whose political faction the Sadr Movement won a total of 73 seats out of 329.

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Baghdad, Iraq – The political faction led by Shia leader Muktada al-Sadr has been confirmed as the winner of the October parliamentary election.

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Iraq’s independent election commission announced the final results on Tuesday after weeks of re-counting and sharp disapproval from the losing parties.

Five seats were changed as a result of the appeals and recounts process in the capital; Baghdad, Nineveh, Erbil, Kirkuk and Basra.

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“We have committed ourselves to deal with the election results in accordance with the law and with utmost honesty and fairness,” Jalil Adnan Khalaf, chairman of the Election Commission’s Board of Commissioners, told a news conference.

The election results confirmed the victory of al-Sadr, a prominent Shia cleric whose political faction, the Sadrist Movement, won a total of 73 of the 329 seats in the incoming parliament.

The al-Fatah coalition, whose main constituents are militia groups affiliated with the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces, sustained its crushing losses and was stripped of 17 seats – despite its repeated calls for a re-count on the alleged “fraud”. There was no change in the initial results.

The number – 37 seats – remained the same for the current parliament speaker, Mohamed al-Halbousi, a Sunni-led Takadum, or Progress Party. Former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law party lost two seats and would have 33 in parliament.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) won 31 seats, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) got 18 seats.

The last count put voter turnout at 44 percent – the lowest since the United States-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein and established a new political system in 2003.

“Now Fatah will need to decide whether they accept the results and negotiate government formation or escalate their disapproval,” wrote Sajjad Ziad, a fellow at the Century Foundation.

“Sadr also has to decide whether he pursues a majority government at the risk of failing and seeing a strong rival bloc form, or accept a coalition with the status quo.

“It may take months for a new government or PM,” he said.

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