Iraqis vote as Abadi seeks to fend off Iran-backed rivals

Iraqis vote as Abadi seeks to fend off Iran-backed rivalsBy Maher Chmaytelli and Raya Jalabi BAGHDAD/MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) – Iraqis voted on Saturday for the first time since the defeat of Islamic State, with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, a rare ally of both the United States and Iran, trying to fend off powerful Shi’ite groups that would pull the country closer to Tehran. Iraqis expressed pride at the prospect of voting for the fourth time since the fall of dictator Saddam Hussein, but also said they had scant hope that the election would stabilize a country beset by conflicts, economic hardship and corruption. Turnout was 44.52 percent with 92 percent of the votes counted, the Independent High Electoral Commission said, significantly lower than in previous elections.



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