Baghdad (AFP) – A surprising election victory for the fierce Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr seems to have shaken the political landscape of Iraq at the expense of Iranian and American influence in the country
The populist Shiite preacher, a fire-bringer once fought US troops and now against Tehran, a broad-based technocratic coalition has cobbled together with the eradication of endemic corruption built in Iraq.
– Playing by the rules?
While Sadr's Marching Towards Reform Alliance with the Iraqi Communists is likely to be the largest faction in parliament, it faces many obstacles.
The movement has itself challenged the country's entrenched elite and popular protests
Under Article 76 of the Iraqi constitution, the right to form a government falls into the political block with the most seats.
Sadr – who has excluded himself from becoming a PM – should. But he is the key ruler and is already looking at a coalition from about a dozen groups to reach a majority.
However, given the expected months of disputes, it is by no means certain that he will have the opportunity to achieve his ambitious goals. In elections in 2010, the Iraqi national movement of Ayad Allawi – detested by Iran – won 91 seats, the largest To become a group in parliament.
But after many maneuvers, Allawi was finally beaten by Nuri al-Maliki. T Ehran helped establish a link between two leading Shiite blocs to give him more seats.
– Cutting off foreign influence? –
Strengthened by his apparent victory in Saturday's polls, the black-turbaned sultan could now push ahead with his nationalist agenda, which has led him to stem foreign interference in Iraq.
Following the 2003 invasion, his militia fought against US forces. He now demands that the last use of American troops be given up after the defeat of the Islamic State group last year.
While his family of religious scholars have historically had close links with the Islamic revolutionaries in Iran and lived there for years, Sadr (19659016) In a sign that he wants to change course, he visited the Sunni power plant Saudi Arabia last year, while Tehran's rival wants to play a bigger role in Iraq
Sadr faces the daunting task of bringing together enough of the fragmented Iraqi political spectrum to form a government.
He has a large mass of parties – including the block of the current Prime Minister Haider al – Badi, who according to the latest results is in third place.
Whether he convinces Abadi – a key member of the Dawa party that has ruled Iraq for years – to turn away from his former stable mates and his team remains an important issue.
Abadi – who was in power in 2014 when ISIS rioted in Iraq – demarcated himself from the US and Iran during his tenure.
Sadr for now seems to be ruling out an alliance with two other powerful forces in Iraq: the Iran-backed Conquest Alliance of former anti-IS paramilitaries and ex-premier Maliki.
– Maneuvers in Iran? –
Any attempt to form a government that threatens Iran's influence in the 15 years since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein appears to be resisting Tehran's opposition.
Iraq's Greater Neighbor to the East Has Great Leverage Many of the Shiite leaders seem to be anxious to block Sadr's path to power.
Political sources told the AFP that two meetings had taken place under Iranian leadership to bring together several political blocs.
One participant, the aim was to unite Abadi and Maliki – bitter enemies, although they come from the same Dawa party – along with the Conquest Alliance, which will be second in the election.
The initiative could trump Sadr's own coalition-building efforts, but it risks angering the supporters of the cleric, who long for a crackdown on corruption by the Establishment figures.