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Two anti-system lists forward Iraqi prime minister in legislative

Ⓒ AFP – AHMAD AL-RUBAYE – | An Iraqi with a country flag and a portrait of the Shiite nationalist leader Moqtada Sadr celebrates partial results in the legislatures on May 14, 2018 in Baghdad

The Iraqis surprised Monday by placing two anti-system lists at the top of the legislative elections, still with partial results, well ahead of Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi, who enjoys broad international support and the recent victory against the jihadists.

These first official results of Saturday’s elections do not include the votes of the security forces, the Iraqis abroad or the displaced, who can still change the situation.

But for the moment, to the general surprise, the two leading movements are those of the Shiite nationalist leader Moqtada Sadr, an ally of the Communists who has approached Saudi Arabia to the detriment of Tehran, and the Popular Mobilization Forces, an additional group of the army near Iran.

Both adopted in the past a rhetoric hostile to the United States, and even came to confront them militarily, before making a common front with them to expel the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) from the country.

These surprising results also take place at a time when the United States and Iran are in conflict after US President Donald Trump withdrew his country’s agreement on the Iranian nuclear program.

Washington and Tehran had tacitly agreed in 2014 on the name of Haider Al Abadi, and discarded their rival within the Daawa party, Nuri Al Maliki, whose plan to return to power failed.

Iran has not yet ruled on these partial results.

– “Rejection of corruption” –

The unprecedented alliance of Shiite leader Moqtada Sadr and the communists with an anti-corruption program (“The march for reforms”) leads in six of the 18 provinces, including Baghdad, and ranks second in four others.

Ⓒ AFP – Joyce HANNA – | The outgoing Iraqi Parliament

His supporters, who demonstrate against corruption throughout the country every week, gathered on Sunday night in central Baghdad and his fiefdom, the poor neighborhood of Sadr City, to celebrate “the victory over the corrupt” and “A new stage for the Iraqi people,” one of them, Zeid Al Zamili, 33, told AFP.

Behind, the Alliance of the Conquest, a list of excomandantes and combatants of the Popular Mobilization Forces, was in the lead in four provinces, including the city of Basra (south) and was in second position in eight others.

Abadi was advanced in all provinces except Nineveh, whose main city is Mosul, former “capital” of the EI group from which Abadi announced the “liberation” in mid-2017.

At first, several political leaders claimed that the outgoing prime minister led the results, hinting that he would retain the position.

This possibility is not yet ruled out because the votes of the 700,000 members of the security forces are still to be scrutinized. In addition, with a system designed to avoid the domination of a party, Abadi can form a government coalition that would guarantee him a second term.

During the campaign, Sadr and Abadi insinuated that they could ally themselves.

According to the electoral commission, a 44.52% participation was registered in the first elections after the victory over the EI group, the worst percentage since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Regardless of their province or their confession, those who voted said they wanted “new faces” to bring new blood to a political class that has not been changed for 15 years.

In general, voters have snubbed the political class as a whole.

“The important abstention occurs because the policies carried out since 15 years ago no longer convince voters,” said political scientist Amir Al Saadi.

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