PM Abadi calls for Iraq election recount, citing problems in Kirkuk

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Despite winning the popular vote and controlling the most seats, Sadr will not become prime minister because he did not run in the election, but his victory puts him in position to choose someone for the job.

Moreover, Qasem Mohebali, former director-general of political affairs of the Middle East in Iran's Foreign Ministry, told the moderate Entekhab news site on May 15, "Perhaps the reason for [Sairoon] Alliance's attraction for the Iraqi people was Muqtada al-Sadr's nationalist slogans like 'Arab Iraq.' On the other hand, the corruption of the previous governments was also impactful in turning people away [from the other groups]".

Populist Shiite religious scholar Moqtada Sadr Tuesday eyed a governing coalition after dealing a blow to both Iranian and USA influence with a shock election triumph that upended Iraqi politics. Turnout was only 44.52%, the lowest since the defeat of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003.

Sadr has reinvented himself as an anti-graft crusader after rising to prominence as a strong militia chief whose group waged a bloody insurgency towards USA forces after the 2003 invasion.

Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's coalition was deemed the preliminary victor of the race by the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC). More than 2 million people are displaced by war, majority Sunnis.

An Iraqi woman shows her ink-stained finger after casting her vote at a polling station during the parliamentary election in the Sadr city district of Baghdad.

"I can just say the independent high electoral commission - that's basically the Iraqi equivalent of the federal election commission - they are investigating".

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An official on the US State Division remained coy forward of the definitive tally, telling AFP "we're awaiting the announcement of the official outcomes and stay up for the formation of the brand new authorities".

Al-Abadi has thus far allowed American military into Iraq to stage and fight ISIS and other terror groups.

The votes in the Kurdish provinces of Dohuk and Kirkuk are still to be counted, but their results will not affect al-Sadr's victory.

Will not enter the coalition and the movement "For the rule of law", headed by former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. The Iranian-backed Shi'ite militia chief Hadi al-Amiri came in second with about 1.2 million votes and will control 47 seats.

Political power in Iraq is traditionally divided along sectarian lines among the offices of prime minister, president and parliament speaker.

On May 12, Iraqis cast their votes in the first general election following the overthrow of Islamic State (ISIS).

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