A supporter of Muqtada al-Sadr celebrates election results on Monday. Photo: Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Final election results confirmed that Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sayirun alliance won the Iraqi election.
Muqtada al-Sadr tweeted that it was “an honour” to have won the confidence of the people.
“Iraq and reform have won your vote. We will not disappoint you,” he stated.
On Friday, prior to the release of the final results, incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called for cooperation among all parties and blocs to form a government that will represent the country, rejecting sectarianism and tackling corruption.
Forming that government, however, will be a hurdle as no single party emerged with strong numbers in the 329 seat chamber.
Sadr’s Sayirun alliance with the Communist Party secured 54 seats, followed by the Fatih alliance with 47 seats, and Abadi’s Victory (Nasr) alliance with 42 seats.
Abadi and Sadr may be able to work together – they both put battling corruption and sectarianism at the forefront of their campaigns – and pundits have predicted Abadi may retain his post.
Sadr, however, is opposed to foreign influence in the government and has ruled out governing with Nouri al-Maliki, whose State of Law won 26 seats, or Hadi al-Ameri, who heads the Iranian-backed Fatih alliance.
AFP reported that Iran’s influential general Qassem Soleimani was in Baghdad where he met with Abadi and Maliki and ruled out an alliance with Sadr.
Sadr has met with Shiite leader Ammar al-Hakim to discuss formation of the next government. Hakim's Hikma movement won 19 seats.
Kurdish parties collectively hold 58 seats – largely in the hands of the KDP, 25, and PUK, 18. The Kurds could be kingmakers, but would have to overcome internal rivalries.
The vote was marred by historically low turnout – just 44.5 percent, which is the lowest in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq.
The election commission said parties have three days to file complaints over the results.
Under the constitution, the president of Iraq must call for parliament to convene within 15 days of the ratification of the election results.
Parliamentarians are sworn in with the following oath: "I swear by God Almighty to carry out my legal duties and responsibilities with devotion and integrity and preserve the independence and sovereignty of Iraq, and safeguard the interests of its people, and ensure the safety of its land, sky, water, wealth, and federal democratic system, and I shall endeavor to protect public and private liberties, the independence of the judiciary, and pledge to implement legislation faithfully and neutrally. God is my witness."
Parliament’s first session will be chaired by its older member and its first order of business will be to elect a speaker and two deputies by an absolute majority in a secret ballot. A fifteen-day extension to this time period is possible.
The parliament will then elect a president from a list of candidates by a two-thirds majority. If a single candidate does not reach the threshold, then a run-off is held between the top two candidates with the one receiving the most votes declared as president.
Within 15 days of his or her election, the president will charge the nominee of the largest bloc with forming the Council of Ministers. This prime minister-designate has 30 days to do so and if he or she fails, the president will charge a new nominee with the same task, giving them 15 days to form the cabinet.
Parliament must approve the prime minister-designate’s selections for ministerial posts by an absolute majority.