18 provinces. Mr. Sadr, who once called for attacks on American forces, capitalized on this widespread discontent by rebranding himself in recent years as a champion of the poor, a firebrand against corruption and a patriot who rails against outside interference by Iran as well as America.

Al-Amiri maintains close ties to Iran.

Retired Navy SEAL Rob O'Neill, the man credited with killing Usama Bin Laden, said the Washington Post is painting an Iraqi cleric as a "maverick" because his policies are counter to those of the Trump White House.

Iraqi government officials approached by The New Arab's Arabic service neither confirmed nor denied the visit, but sources in Abadi's office said Soleimani was expected in Iraq because of the confusion produced by the election results. It released the results of six more provinces late Monday.


He announced Tuesday on state television that it was the responsibility of Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) to conduct the recount to determine accurate results, citing high-profile charges of vote tampering in the disputed province of Kirkuk.

He was followed by Amiri with more than 1.2 million votes, translating into around 47 seats, and Abadi with more than 1 million votes and about 42 seats.

Al-Abadi directed Iraqi forces to retake the city late previous year after the Kurdish regional administration organized a referendum on independence that controversially included Kirkuk; federal forces moved in with little bloodshed as Kurdish forces withdrew.

The announcement came just over 24 hours after polls closed across the country amid record low voter turnout.


Celebrations erupted in Baghdad's Sadr City, an impoverished quarter that is home to some 3 million people and is named after the cleric's late father, Ayatollah Mohammad Sadq al-Sadr.

Any political party or alliance must gain a majority of the 329 seats in parliament to be able to choose a prime minister and form a government.

Disparagement of electronic voting devices, used at Iraqi polling stations for the first time on Saturday, has become a common rallying cry to candidates and members of parties that got few votes in a country where there was already little faith in the national electoral system.


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