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Iraqi election winner meets with his pro-Iran rivals

Populist Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, right, displays his ink-stained finger that shows he voted, at a polling center during the parliamentary elections in Najaf, Iraq, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Anmar Khalil)
Populist Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, right, displays his ink-stained finger that shows he voted, at a polling center during the parliamentary elections in Najaf, Iraq, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Anmar Khalil)

The winner of Iraq’s October parliamentary election, Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada Sadr, meets with rivals from the pro-Iran Hashed al-Shaabi former paramilitary alliance ahead of the opening of parliament.

The October 10 vote was rejected by the Fatah (Conquest) Alliance, the political arm of the pro-Tehran Hashed, but Iraq’s top court on Monday dismissed their allegations of voter fraud and ratified the results. It paves the way for parliament to meet and elect a president — who will then name a prime minister tasked with forming a new government.

Leaders including Fatah Alliance chief Hadi al-Ameri, senior Hashed official Faleh al-Fayyad and Qais al-Khazali, head of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq force — a key component of the Hashed — are hosted by Sadr at his home in the Iraqi shrine city of Najaf, according to state news agency INA.

The leaders discuss “the political situation” and the “formation of the next government,” INA reports.

Sadr, a political maverick and former anti-US militia leader who opposes all foreign interference, had already met leaders from pro-Iran parties earlier this month.

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