iraq’s-shiite-leader,-possible-us-ally,-gains-power

Iraq’s Shiite leader, possible US ally, gains power

Iraq’s supreme court upheld the results of the October election of Shiite Muslim cleric and possible U.S. ally Muqtada al-Sadr on Monday, rejecting an appeal filed by pro-Iran factions.

The Federal Supreme Court had not ratified the Oct. 10 election results, pending an appeal filed earlier this month by Hadi al-Amiri, who heads the pro-Iran Fatah Alliance, a political coalition representing the Popular Mobilization Forces, a state-sponsored Shiite paramilitary group.

Judge Jassim Mohammed rejected the lawsuit, which cited alleged voter fraud, and later certified the results of the election. The verdict cannot be re-appealed.

Al-Ameri said he would abide by Monday’s ruling.

“We abide by the decision of the Federal Court despite our deep and firm belief that the electoral process was marred by a lot of fraud and manipulation,” al-Amiri said, citing “concern for Iraq’s security and political stability and our belief in the political process and its democratic path,” The New York Times reported.

The U.S. has viewed al-Sadr, a former enemy during the Iraq War, as a possible new ally due to his rejection of Iranian meddling in Iraq’s politics.

After the ruling, al-Sadr gave a speech calling on Iraq’s leading political parties to expedite the government formation process and said the new government should be under “neither eastern nor western” influence, Kurdistan 24 reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.