The political coalition of the influential Shi’a cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr took an early lead in Iraq's national elections announced late Sunday by the Iraqi electoral commission.
Al-Sadr’s main rival, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi performed poorly across majority Shi’a provinces that should have been his base of support. According to Jassim Mohamad, a researcher in counterterrorism and intelligence studies, “Haider al-Abadi's loss was mainly due to his support for Hadi Al-Amiri, who is former minister of transport and head of the BADR organisation, the military wing of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council. As the leader of the BADR organisation he was considered close to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, who trained the BADR brigade under the rule of Saddam Hussein."
The announcement came just over 24 hours after polls closed across the country following a low number of voters from Iraq’s 19 provinces including Baghdad and Basra.
According to the Iraq’s constitution there is a quota for female representation, stating that no less than a quarter of members of parliament must be women. Nearly 2,600 women are running for office this year.