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Iranian IRGC Quds Force Chief Qassem Soleimani Heads to Iraq Following Elections

Iranian IRGC Quds Force Chief Qassem Soleimani Heads to Iraq Following Elections

Abadi, who is the preferred candidate of the U.S., looks set to come in third behind the Fatah (Conquest) alliance, led by former transport minister Hadi al-Amiri, who presides over the political wings of several Shia-led paramilitary forces.

The preliminary results were based on a count of more than 91 percent of the votes cast in 16 of Iraq's 18 provinces.

In the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, tensions peaked when the city governor, Rakan Al Jubouri, and the head of the Turkmen Front, Arshad Al Salehi, demanding a manual recount of the votes and reiterating the issues with the electronic polling machines. It says it will announce the remaining results Tuesday. Sadr, 44, led an alliance of several groups, including Sunni businessmen and Communists.

Remembered for leading an insurgency against USA forces and inciting sectarian bloodshed against the Sunni population, al-Sadr has in recent years sought to recast himself as a populist, railing against corruption and failing services and striking a political alliance with Iraq's secularists and Communist Party. Sadr - who has ruled himself out of becoming prime minister - looks likely to be the key powerbroker and has already mooted a technocrat government of some dozen parties that bridge sectarian divides.

"We stand ready to work with whoever is fairly elected by the Iraqi people". Corruption has been at the top of Sadr's agenda for several years. Today, he's rebranded himself as a populist outsider who will fight corruption and Iran's interference in Iraqi affairs.

Ebola has infected dozens so far in Congo, killing 19, World Health Organization says
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After being sidelined by Iranian-backed rivals for years, the apparent parliamentary victory marks a political comeback for Sadr, who didn't even officially run for prime minister in this year's elections.

Some prominent politicians now believe that al-Abadi is still the favorite to form the next government despite losing. The government should be formed within 90 days of the official results.

Abadi - who got here to energy as IS swept throughout Iraq in 2014 - has been a consensus determine who balanced off the U.S. and Iran.

Although Saturday's election was largely peaceful, less than half of the country's 24.5 million voters headed to polling stations - the lowest turnout since the country's first multiparty elections in 2005. It included full returns from only 10 of the country's 19 provinces, including the provinces of Baghdad and Basra.

"The Iraqi people had an election". The Iranian-backed Shi'ite militia chief Hadi al-Amiri came in second with about 1.2 million votes and will control 47 seats.

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