Iraq’s electoral commission has announced the Sa’iroun (Marchers) political bloc, cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s alliance with communists, as the winner of the country’s parliamentary elections.
Sadr’s alliance, which contested in Iraq’s elections for the first time, captured 54 parliamentary seats, the commission said on Saturday.
Sadr’s movement forms the backbone of the Sa’iroun alliance, but the senior Shia cleric himself, who enjoys a strong support, did not contest the elections.
The Conquest Alliance, led by former transport minister and secretary general of Badr Organisation Hadi al-Ameri, came in second with 47 seats and the Victory Alliance, headed by incumbent Prime Minister Haider al- Abadi, took the third place with 42 seats.
The Conquest Alliance is a new alliance that entered the elections for the first time. It consists of 18 political parties many of which are former factions of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU). The PMU, more commonly known by its Arabic name as Hashd al-Sha’abi, was key in defeating Daesh terrorists last year. The main units have handed over their weapons to the state in order to enter the political process.
Iraqis voted last Saturday in the first national elections since the country declared complete victory over Daesh.
The electoral commission of Iraq announced that 44.5 percent of those eligible had cast their ballots in the elections.
Over 7,000 candidates contested the 329 seats in the parliament that will choose a new president, prime minister and government in Iraq.
This is the fourth such polls since the 2003 US invasion that led to a sharp rise in sectarian tensions and ensuing terror-related violence in the Arab country.
The next prime minster will face the huge task of rebuilding a country shattered by the war against Daesh and the US invasion.
Daesh unleashed a campaign of death and destruction in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks. Iraqi army soldiers and allied fighters then launched operations to eliminate the terrorist group and retake lost territory.
Last December, Abadi declared the end of the anti-Daesh campaign in the Arab country. The group’s remnants, though, keep staging sporadic attacks across Iraq.