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Shiite cleric Sadr leads in 2 more provinces in Iraq's parliamentary polls

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The political coalition led by prominent Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr kept its leading position in two more provinces, official figures announced Monday.

The Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) announced the initial results of Iraq's parliamentary election in six of the remaining eight provinces after announcing earlier 10 of the country's 18 provinces.

Sadr's al-Sa'iroon Coalition was the front-runner in counting of 98 percent in both the provinces of Najaf and Maysan, while its closest al-Fath Coalition, led by Hadi al-Ameri, came in the second place in three provinces of Najaf, Maysan and Salahudin, IHEC said.

The latest announcement makes al-Sa'iroon Coalition in the first place in six of Iraq's 18 provinces, while al-Fath was leading in four of the provinces.

The al-Nasr Coalition led by incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi also made its first lead in counting of 91 percent of the predominantly Sunni province of Nineveh with 164,714 votes, and is followed the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), headed by Masoud Barzani.

However, KDP was leading in its stronghold Erbil province and was followed by the major Kurdish Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), while PUK was the first in its stronghold of Sulaimaniyah province.

IHEC said that the counting of the two provinces of Dohuk and Kirkuk are still underway and will be announced later.

Millions of Iraqis went to 8,959 polling centers across the country on Saturday to vote for their parliamentary representatives in the first general election after Iraq's historic victory over the Islamic State (IS) group last December.

Some 90 political entities and 7,000 candidates are vying for 329 seats in the parliament.

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