Coalition led by Muqtada al Sadr wins Iraqi election

Moqtada al-Sadr poised for victory in Iraqi election

Moqtada al-Sadr poised for victory in Iraqi election

Nineveh is Iraq's second largest province after Baghdad, which went to a list organized by the influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Already pressured by the United States withdrawal from the nuclear deal, Iran faces a major test in managing Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr, an opponent who beat Tehran's longtime allies to achieve a shock victory in Iraq's parliamentary election.

After the election results were announced, he said he would only cooperate with Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, with the Kurds and the Sunnis.

Populist Shia cleric Sayyid Moqtada Sadr on Tuesday eyed a broad coalition after a shock election triumph that has upended Iraqi politics.

While Sadr's unlikely Marching Towards Reform alliance with Iraq's communists looks on course to be the biggest group in parliament - it faces many obstacles.

He can not become prime minister as he did not run in the election, though his apparent victory puts him in a position to pick someone for the job.

Sadr faces a hard act to herd together enough groups from across Iraq's fragmented political spectrum to form a government.

The elections on Saturday - hit by record abstentions - saw a clear rejection of the Iraqi elite that has run the country since the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

No single group is expected to gain an outright majority. US -backed Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi tallied just over 1 million votes and will control 42 seats, and former USA puppet Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki - who turned on the US and cozied up to Iran - placed fourth and holds about 25 seats. Despite a third place finish, Abadi could potentially still remain prime minister after the government coalition is formed.

Sadr is one of the few Iraqi politicians who is opposed to both the presence of American troops in Iraq and the overbearing influence neighbouring Iran exercises over the country.

While speculation swirls, the next concrete step remains completing the vote count and firming up the final makeup of Iraq's new 329-seat parliament.

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