Iraq’s Abadi congratulates Shiite cleric Sadr on election win

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr

Baghdad ( – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has phoned prominent Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to congratulate him on winning the parliamentary elections.

The Iraqi premier congratulated Sadr after his bloc came in the first position place among the electoral lists, Sputnik quoted Sadr’s office as saying in a statement on Tuesday.

In the phone call, Abadi praised the holding of the electoral process in a secure and democratic atmosphere.

According to preliminary results announced by the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission, Sadr’s Sairoon bloc took the lead after votes were counted in 16 out of Iraq’s 18 provinces.

Saturday’s elections were the first in Iraq since the defeat of Islamic State last year by Iraqi forces and a U.S.-led coalition.

The elections will decide the 329 members of the Council of Representatives who will in turn elect the Iraqi president and prime minister.

Even with more than 10 million Iraqis voting, the election saw a record low turnout, with 44 percent of eligible voters casting ballots.

The elections were originally scheduled for September 2017, but were delayed due to the country’s fight against Islamic State, which ended in December 2017 with the recapture of their remaining territories.

Iraq declared victory over Islamic State in December with the help of a US-led alliance, having retaken all the territory captured by the extremists in 2014 and 2015.

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