Iraqi Election Results
They surprised, not turning out the way most observers expected, final results announced by Iraq’s electoral commission on Saturday.
Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s coalition won 54 of 329 seats, the Hadi al-Amiri alliance 47 seats, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s bloc finishing third with 42 seats.
Sadr wasn’t a candidate so can’t serve as prime minister. His coalition finishing first makes him a possible kingmaker in talks to decide who’ll lead Iraq’s government for the next four years.
He’s hostile to Iran, along with US-led Western interference in Iraq’s internal affairs.
Relishing his triumph, he tweeted: “Reform is victorious and corruption is diminishing,” a remark unrelated to hard reality in the country – victimized by its oil wealth, Washington wanting control of its reserves.
Weeks of hard bargaining lie ahead. Winning the most number of seats, Sadr has the advantage over rivals – yet not at all assured of being able to pick a prime minister, Abadi over Amiri his likely choice.
Before the election, Iran expressed opposition to Sadr’s bloc.
Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp General Qassem Soleimani is holding talks in Baghdad, promoting formation of a new government friendly to the Islamic Republic.
Talks could go on for weeks up to 90 days before a new one is formed – Abadi the favorite to remain prime minister, an outcome by no means certain.
Over 7,000 candidates competed in week ago elections. A new parliament will choose a Shia prime minister, a Kurdish largely ceremonial president, and a Sunni parliament speaker.
Once Iraq’s Supreme Court certifies election results, parliament is required to meet within 15 days – forming a new government to follow through hard bargaining.
For long-suffering Iraqis, their decades-long ordeal won’t end as long as Washington wants control over the country’s leadership and oil wealth.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”