Powerful Shia cleric declares victory in Iraq election

Describing the Sadrist Movement as "the largest bloc" in the upcoming Iraqi legislature, the cleric said the alliance he leads is neither "eastern nor western" but "Iraqi."
The leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)
The leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Set to spearhead the largest coalition in the Iraq legislature once again after early results showed his movement had won the highest number of seats, influential and populist Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr delivered a victory speech on Monday.

According to the Independent High Electoral Commission's (IHEC) preliminary results, the Sadrist Movement has secured more than 70 seats in the polls, an increase of over 16-seat compared to the 2018 vote, when Sadr's Sairoon Alliance came in first with 54 lawmakers.

"It is the people's day, the state's day, and the heroic security forces' day," Sadr said in his victory speech. "It is the day of the oppressed minorities, the day of the deprived Shia and the oppressed Sunni, and it is the day of the Kurds."

Describing it as "the largest bloc," the cleric said his movement is "Iraqi," neither "eastern nor western," in reference to Iran and the West.

Sadr claimed he would "eradicate" chronic corruption in Iraq, as he repeatedly has in the past.

"From now on, there is no place for corruption and the corrupt. After today, every corrupt person will be held accountable, whoever he is... We will eliminate corruption with our blood if necessary."

Foreign Interference

All embassies are welcome to work in Iraq, Sadr added, "unless they interfere in Iraqi affairs" and government formation.

In case of "interference, we will have a diplomatic response or perhaps a popular response befitting the crime," he stated.

The cleric also repeated calls for "restricting arms to the state," a reference to opposition to the increasing influence of Iranian-backed paramilitary groups, the political wings of which lead the runner-up Fatah Alliance, led by Hadi Amiri.

"It is time for the people to live in peace, without occupation, terrorism or militias that kidnap, intimidate and detract from the prestige of the state," he affirmed.