Iraqi Cleric Hopes Elections Will Help Push Out US

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-Qaida also did well in the
elections.


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