With 91 percent of ballots counted, alliance of Muqtada al-Sadr is in the lead in six provinces, including Baghdad.
The Sairoon Alliance of Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr is set to win Iraq’s parliamentary elections in a remarkable comeback after being sidelined for years by Iranian-backed rivals.
With over 91 percent of votes counted in 16 of Iraq’s 18 provinces, Iran-backed Shia militia chief Hadi al-Amiri’s Fatah (Conquest) Coalition was in second place, while Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s Nasr (Victory) Coalition once seen as the frontrunner, came in third.
Sadr’s bloc did not run in the remaining two provinces, Kurdish Dohuk and the ethnically-mixed oil province of Kirkuk. The results there, which may be delayed due to tensions between local parties, will not affect Sadr’s standing.
Reports indicate that Sairoon – an alliance between the Sadrist Movement and Iraq’s Communist Party – won more than 1.3 million votes, gaining 54 of a 329-seat parliament.
Saturday’s election was the first since the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group, but the turnout fell far short of previous elections with only 44.52 percent of registered voters participating. Turnout is 15 percent lower than that of 2014.
Commenting on the results, Rend al-Rahim, a former Iraqi ambassador to the United States told Al Jazeera: “The ascendancy of the list sponsored by al-Sadr shows that anti-establishment sentiment and anti-corruption have driven the choice of most voters.”
But according to Rahim, Sadr’s rise to victory was also based on emotionally-driven voting.
“None of the lists had an electoral programme that outlined priorities and a plan of action. All used vague terms to lure voters. Many of the lists also used populist and demagogic tactics that played on the emotions of voters.
“The success of Sairoon and Fatah clearly show that voters were ideologically and emotionally driven,” said Al-Rahim.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS