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Iraqi Cleric Hopes Elections will Help Push Out US | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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BAGHDAD, (AP) – A prominent anti-American Shiite cleric says he hopes recent provincial elections will help unite Iraqis to push out the U.S. “occupier.”

Muqtada al-Sadr’s message was read by an aide during Friday prayers in Baghdad’s Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City.

Final election results released Thursday showed al-Sadr’s faction won some seats in every province in the south. The radical cleric’s influence weakened last year after government forces moved into areas once controlled by his Mahdi Army militia.

The government security crackdown helped produce big wins in the Jan. 31 elections for Shiite supporters of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Sunni tribal leaders who battled al-Qaeda also did well in the elections.