Moqtada al-Sadr set for surprise comeback in Iraqi elections

Supporters of Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr brandish a giant poster
Supporters of Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr brandish a giant poster Copyright Reuters
By Tokunbo SalakoEvelyn Laverick with Reuters
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With 95% of votes counted, Moqtadr al-Sadr in pole position to choose next prime minister


Supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr have been celebrating in Iraq after partial results showed the powerful nationalist leading in the country's parliamentary election.

Shi'ite militia leader Hadi al-Amiri's bloc, which is backed by Tehran, is in second place.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi appears to be running third. Security and commission sources had earlier said he was leading the election.

A Sadr victory would mark a surprise comeback by the cleric, who has a strong following among the young, poor and dispossessed, but he's recently been sidelined by influential Iranian-backed figures.

Whoever wins the most seats still must negotiate a coalition government, which must be formed within 90 days of the results being formally announced.

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