According to results released May 15-16, the Sairoun Alliance - headed by Moqtada Al-Sadr and comprised of his Progressive Reform party and Iraq's Communist party - has won more than 1.3 million votes in the May 12 election, gaining 54 seats in the 329-seat parliament. None of the competing blocs appear on track to win a majority in parliament and thus have the ability to name a prime minister. However, Sadr's bloc will likely be able to take a leading role in negotiations with other parties to find a compromise candidate in the coming weeks and months. Sadr himself cannot become prime minister as he did not run for a seat, but his deputies in parliament are largely expected to follow his directives.
Current Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi came in first in Nineveh - Iraq's second largest province - but performed poorly in the rest of the country. In a national address on May 14, Al-Abadi vowed to keep the country safe under his command until a new government is formed. Al-Abadi also indicated that there may be a manual nationwide vote recount if irregularities are found due to potential flaws in electronic voting devices.
While no major election-related militant attacks have taken place in Baghdad, several attacks claimed by the Islamic State (IS) took place at polling stations in Diyala, Saladin, and Kirkuk provinces, killing several people. Additional low-level militant attacks are possible in the coming days. Potential reports of voting irregularities could foment political unrest in affected areas. Heightened security measures and transportation disruptions are expected near any gatherings.
Individuals in Iraq are advised to closely monitor the situation. The security environment in Iraq remains complex. Although travel is possible in some areas with proper security protocols in place, other areas should be considered strictly off-limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to all travel.
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