Iraqi cleric al-Sadr leads in early vote results

Security was tight at polling stations in Baghdad during Saturday's vote

The alliance is headed by Hadi al-Amiri, a former minister of transport with close ties to Iran who became a senior commander of paramilitary fighters in the fight against the Islamic State extremist group.

The Victory Alliance of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who has been backed by the worldwide community, looked to have won in only one province.

The elections held Saturday were the first since Iraq declared victory over Islamic State fighters and the fourth since the 2003 USA -led toppling of Saddam Hussein.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's list appears to be leading in Iraq's parliamentary election followed by influential Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's alliance, an election commission source and a security official told Reuters.

Turnout was low despite a sharp decrease in violence across the country, with threats from IS against the polls failing to materialise.

The governor of Iraq's Kirkuk province declared a curfew on Saturday and ordered a manual recount of votes there in the national election, saying an electronic counting system had produced an "illogical" result.

Abadi, a rare ally of both the United States and Iran, came in third in six provinces but ran fifth in Baghdad. The results are from 10 of the country's 19 provinces, including Baghdad and Basra.

The most important issues dominated throughout the campaign included corruption, security, poverty, the influence of Iran and the future of U.S. forces now in the country.


Final vote figures aren't expected for another day or so, but as of Sunday evening, preliminary votes showed a shocking turn in Iraq's weekend vote.

Members of the nationwide election fee learn out vote tallies for every candidate listing in every of the 10 provinces on nationwide TV.

Celebrations erupted in Baghdad's Sadr City, an impoverished quarter that is home to some 3 million people and is named after the cleric's late father, Ayatollah Mohammad Sadq al-Sadr. The commission gave no indication on when further results would be announced.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose country still has troops in Iraq from the fight with IS, lauded the poll and called for an "inclusive government, responsive to the needs of all Iraqis".

Until a new prime minister is chosen, al-Abadi will remain in office, retaining all his power.

It is the first poll in the country since Islamic State was defeated.

Any political occasion or alliance should acquire a majority of Iraq's 329 seats in parliament to have the ability to select a main minister and type a authorities. Even if Abadi's Victory Alliance wins the most seats, he still must negotiate a coalition government, which must be formed within 90 days of the election.

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