A recount of votes cast in Iraq’s May parliamentary election shows nationalist Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s alliance was the winner, the country’s election commission said Friday.
Sadr’s win positions him to play a key role in the formation of the country’s next government. Three months after the election, the winning parties are still negotiating the formation of the next governing coalition.
Parliament ordered a recount in June after allegations of fraud raised questions about the integrity of the election.
Iraq’s Independent High Election Commission said the results of the manual recount matched the initial results from 13 of the country’s 18 provinces, with Sadr’s alliance retaining all 54 seats it won.
A group of Iran-supported Shi’ite militia leaders remained in second place but gained one seat for a total of 48. Incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s bloc maintained its third place finish with 42 seats.
Abadi is leading a fragile government until a new one is formed. Uncertainty over the composition of the new government has raised tensions during a period of public frustration over poor basic services, joblessness and a sluggish rebuilding effort after a three-year war with Islamic State.