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Sadr Retains Election Victory in Recount of Iraq Ballots

Sadr Retains Election Victory in Recount of Iraq Ballots

Friday, 10 August, 2018 - 11:15
Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Reuters file photo

Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr retained his lead in Iraq's May parliamentary election, results of a nationwide recount of votes showed on Friday, positioning him to play a central role in forming the country's next government.

Iraq's Independent High Election Commission (IHEC) released the results of the recount on its website early on Friday.

The IHEC said the results of the recount matched the initial results from 13 of Iraq's 18 provinces.

The winning parties are still embroiled in negotiations over forming the next governing coalition three months after the vote, with no sign of an imminent conclusion.

The recount did not alter the initial results significantly, with Sadr keeping his tally of 54 seats.

Parliament ordered the recount in June after widespread allegations of fraud cast doubt on the integrity of the ballot.

According to the results announced Friday, a group of Iran-backed Shiite leaders, the Conquest Alliance, remained second behind Sadr's bloc but gained 48 seats instead of 47, with incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's bloc still in third place with 42 seats.

Abadi, who is seeking a second term in office, is heading a fragile caretaker government until a new one is formed.

The political uncertainty over the makeup of the new government has raised tensions at a time when public impatience is growing over poor basic services, unemployment and the slow pace of rebuilding after a three-year war with ISIS.

After the supreme court officially announces the final results, the outgoing president has 15 days to convene parliament, which must then elect a new head of state and begin the process of forming a coalition government and settling on a new prime minister. 

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