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Moqtada al-Sadr, the missing candidate

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-03-08

Al-Sadr, an anti-US Shiite cleric, is not in Iraq for the parliamentary elections, but his influence remains – especially in his home town, the volatile Baghdad suburb known as Sadr City.

In our report, we take a look at anti-American Shiite cleric Al-Sadr is the leader, if in absentia, of the resistance movement of the Shiite poor, which rejects secularism and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Posters and photos of Moqtada al-Sadr can be seen all over his home town of Sadr City but no one is certain as to his exact location as he moves around constantly.

Sadr's Mehdi Army, once a feared militia, has largely laid down its arms but his political movement is trying to make a comeback. The young radical Imam is as such the mystery absentee candidate of the Iraqi legislative elections.

Sadr's movement is a key player in the Shiite-led coalition taking part in the election, and is likely to be influential in Iraq's next parliament, if not the government.

Al Sadr has urged Iraqis to take part in Sunday's election to help pave the way for Iraq's "liberation" from U.S. forces.

Al-Sadr has been the subject of an arrest warrant since 2003.

 

Date created : 2010-03-07

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