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Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi came in first in Iraq's second largest province, Nineveh, but he has performed poorly in the rest of the country, coming in third and fourth place in most provinces and fifth in Baghdad.

According to Agence France Presse, Iran is holding meetings to try to block Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr, who heads Iraq's Sairoon coalition, from forming a government.

Over the weekend, Iraqis voted in the first general election since the country declared victory over Islamic State a year ago.

Although al-Sadr won't be prime minister because he himself didn't run in the election, he will have the power to name the next leader-and this could seriously influence Iraq's politics and policies.

Abadi offered a statement of congratulations to Sadr for his victory, and for encouraging a secure atmosphere during the vote.

"So we will wait and see the results - the final results of the election".

Washington's preferred candidate, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, has been knocked into third place.

Sadr rose to prominence in the wake of the U.S. invasion, when his militia fighters fought a bloody insurgency against American troops.

An Iraqi woman prepares herself to cast her vote at a polling station during the parliamentary election in Baghdad
Image Voter turnout was the lowest in 15 years

Supporters in his impoverished Baghdad stronghold, Sadr City, were hopeful that victory could spell improvements.

"We have tried all the others", Jamal insisted.

Al-Sadr commands his own militia that fought against IS militants, but he has disavowed any Iranian and US influence in Iraq, and he has called for the full withdrawal of USA troops.

In a surprising pivot previous year, he visited regional Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia to the south, with Riyadh looking to increase its involvement in Iraq as it vies with Tehran.

In a surprising pivot previous year, Sadr visited regional Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia, with Riyadh looking to increase its involvement in Iraq.

According to Kurdistan 24, a source close to the government said that Soleimani appeared to be trying to persuade Amiri to ally himself with al-Maliki saying, "It seems that they want to isolate Sadr".

Suleimani has reportedly called for a union between Abadi's bloc, the Conquest Alliance of former anti-Daesh commander Ameri and former premier Nouri al-Maliki. Whoever wins the most seats must negotiate a coalition government in order to have a majority in parliament. By the end of the announcement, al-Sadr's list had the highest popular vote, followed by al-Amiri's.

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