Iraq Elections: Prime Minister's Hold Slipping Away

Iraq Elections: Prime Minister's Hold Slipping Away

The bloc led by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is trailing in third place in Iraq's parliamentary elections, according to partial results.

With more than half of votes counted, a nationalist alliance between Shia Muslim cleric Moqtada Sadr and mostly secular groups is in the lead.

It is followed by a bloc linked to Iranian-backed Shia paramilitaries who fought the Islamic State (IS) group.

The elections are the first since Iraq declared victory over IS in December.

The final results are due to be announced later on Monday, triggering what are expected to be lengthy negotiations to form a new coalition government, reports the BBC.

More than 90 percent of the votes have been counted in 10 of Iraq's 18 provinces, and preliminary official results show the coalition led by Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's bloc is ahead, followed by the alliance led by Hadi al-Amiri, who commanded Shia militias during the fighting against ISIS, according to CNN.

Abadi's "Victory Alliance" is third, followed by that of his predecessor Nuri al-Maliki. In distant fifth is Ayad Allawi, a Shia politician who once served as interim prime minister of Iraq after Saddam Hussein was deposed, according to Iraq's Electoral Commission.

Image credit: Reuters