Muqtada al-Sadr’s party claims victory in Iraqi elections

Baghdad, Oct 11 (EFE).- The party of influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said Monday that it will have the largest block of seats in Iraq’s parliament following weekend elections.

“This is the day of victory against corruption, terrorism, the militias, poverty, injustice and slavery,” Al-Sadr said in a televised speech.

The Sadrist Movement won as many as 75 of the 329 seats in parliament, a party source told Efe on condition of anonymity, while official news agency INA said Al-Sadr’s group took 73 seats in Sunday’s vote.

The Sadrists won 54 seats in the last general elections in 2018.

Definitive official results will not be released for several days.

Turnout was only 41 percent, the lowest of any of the five elections held in the post-Saddam Hussein era.

Shiite Muslims, who constitute the majority of Iraq’s people, have dominated public life since Saddam’s regime was toppled by the US invasion in 2003.

The Dawlat al-Qanun party of former Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki finished a distant second to the Sadrists. Parties linked to Iranian-backed Shiite militias suffered heavy losses, going from 48 seats to 14.

Once popular for their role in defeating Islamic State, the militias are blamed by many in Iraq for the 600 deaths that occurred during the repression of anti-government protests in 2019.

Those protests forced the government to hold the elections several months earlier than planned.

Emtidad, a party formed by activists who took part in the mobilization two years ago, will have nine seats in the new parliament, according to the preliminary tally.

“We are pleased to note that the elections proceeded smoothly and featured significant technical and procedural improvements, although the turnout was disappointing to many,” the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq said in a statement. EFE cgs/dr

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