Written by Staff Writer
Update 11:45 a.m. Eastern Tuesday (12:45 a.m. Wednesday, November 6 GMT):
After an election in Iraq, outgoing Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has conceded defeat, CNN can confirm.
Abadi told his supporters in Baghdad: “We must come together and reject violence, and reject interference and extremism. The next government must deal with security and stability, and meet the needs of the people, especially in the oil-rich southern provinces.”
Iraqi Shiite cleric and pro-democracy activist Moqtada al-Sadr has won the country’s parliamentary election, two senior election officials told CNN on Monday.
Sadr’s vote has secured him a large bloc of seats in parliament, the officials said, ahead of strong second-place finishes by former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and another Shiite veteran, former finance minister Hoshiyar Zebari.
Sadr, 65, appears poised to follow in the footsteps of previous successful Shiite political leaders, such as the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and ex-premier Ayad Allawi, who led Iraqi government during the US occupation.
Sadr’s movement describes itself as a “cultural nationalist” and insists it’s not connected to the controversial Iran-backed Shiite militias.
Sadr has long been considered a force to be reckoned with and his alliance with anti-ISIS cleric Hadi al-Amiri last year fueled concerns that the Iranian-backed group would control Iraq’s future.
Ousted PM Abadi’s National Popular Mobilization Committee secured the fourth place in the parliamentary election, while Maliki — whose own alliance won the second-largest block — walked away from the election without a parliamentary seat.
The results will be finalised later this week once all the recounting is complete.