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Iraqi cleric warns neighbouring nations against interfering in poll results

Baghdad : Iraq’s prominent Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has warned the neighbouring countries against interfering in the ongoing dispute over the preliminary results of the October 10 parliamentary elections.

“We will not allow any country to interfere with the dispute on the results of the elections, the formation of the government, and so on. Everything that happens is a democratic struggle between members of one people,” al-Sadr tweeted on Sunday after his party appeared as the frontrunner in the parliamentary elections.

The cleric said that if the interfering countries refrain from halting their interference, Iraq will resort to diplomatic means according to the international law as well as “reducing economic relations”, reports Xinhua news agency.

Iraq would not interfere in the internal affairs of the neighbouring countries, Al-Sadr added, noting that the relations between Baghdad and these nationswill not be in accordance with sectarian or unilateral interests.

Iraq held early parliamentary elections on October 10, in showed the Sadrist Movement, led by al-Sadr, took the lead with more than 70 seats, while the al-Fateh Coalition (Conquest), which includes some Shia militias of Hashd Shaabi, garnered only 17 seats compared with 47 seats in the 2018 parliamentary elections.

The results were surprising to many political parties, who denounced the elections as manipulation and fraud, and warned that they would not accept the “fabricated results” whatever the cost is.

The parliamentary elections, originally scheduled for 2022, were held in advance in response to months of protests against corruption, poor governance, and a lack of public services.

A total of 3,249 candidates within 167 parties and coalitions competed for 329 seats in the upcoming Parliament.

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