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Sadrist Fared Poorly in Iraq Elections

4:45 PM, Feb 5, 2009 • By BILL ROGGIO
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The results of Iraq's provincial elections are in, and the parties backed by Muqtada al Sadr's political movement fared poorly in regions of southern and central Iraq where he is considered to be influential. In Maysan province, which used to be run by the Sadrist movement, the Sadrists received 15.2 percent of the vote, placing it in second. In Baghdad, where the neighborhood of Sadr City has two million Shia supposedly under his influence, the movement received nine percent (tied second place). In Basrah, the movement received five percent (fourth place). The Sadrists finished third and fourth in Najaf and Karbala respectively. These provinces used to be considered Sadrist "strongholds."

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, who was said to have been defeated and humiliated by Sadr during the operation against the Mahdi Army in Basrah and in Baghdad, did quite well. His party won the elections in nine of the 14 provinces where elections were held, including in Baghdad, Basrah, and Maysan. Of the 10 Shia-dominated provinces, Maliki's party finished first on nine of them.

Sadr's Mahdi Army took a real beating last year at the hands of the Iraqi security forces and the Coalition. This year, the Iraqi people gave the Sadrist movement another beating, this time at the polls.