Al-Sadr refused to form a coalition with supporters of Iran

Populist Cleric Sadr All but Wins Majority in Iraq Election

The front-runner in Iraqi elections, the populist Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, wasted little time trying to prove to potential allies that he is serious about shaking up the government and cleaning up corruption as he worked to cobble together a governing coalition.

Counting was still ongoing three days after the first parliamentary poll since the defeat of the hardline Wahhabi ISIS group, but the fiery Shia preacher's grouping was in the lead with 16 of 18 provinces tallied.

Iraqi firebrand political figure Muqtada al-Sadr is set to be announced the surprise victor of the country's elections and prepared for his new status as government titan by making a call for national unity.

But even then, his bloc might not necessarily form the next government.

While his family of religious scholars historically has close ties with the Islamic revolutionaries in Iran and he spent years living there, Sadr has now fallen out with Tehran and wants its overbearing influence slashed. The government should be formed within 90 days of the official results.

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Knox compiled a regular-season record of 186-147-1, and went 7-11 in the playoffs during his 22 seasons as a head coach. We hold his family in our thoughts and prayers during this hard time", according to the Rams statement.

Sadr cannot become prime minister since he did not personally run in the election, but the fact that those within his party hold a large number of seats could put him in a position to pick someone for the job.

Abadi - who came to power in 2014 as IS rampaged across Iraq - has balanced off the U.S. and Iran during his time at the helm.

An alliance of candidates linked to Iraq's powerful Shiite paramilitary groups was in second. Iran has publicly stated it will not allow his bloc to govern.

The initiative could trump Sadr's own coalition-building efforts but it risks angering the cleric's supporters who are yearning for a clampdown on corruption among establishment figures.

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