>> Iraq's Muqtada al-Sadr has retained his lead in the country's parliamentary election. While the poll was held in May, a contentious recount was needed to confirm the win, and now the populist Shiite cleric will play a central role in forming Iraq's next government. Parliament ordered the recount after allegations of ballot fraud.
The overall outcome sees Sadr keeping his tally of 54 seats. But the winning parties, including militia leaders backed by Iran, are still embroiled in how the new governing coalition will look. Three months after the vote, there’s still no sign of an agreement. Iraqis are hoping the uncertainty will soon be over.
Recent protests saw thousands on the streets, angry at poor basic services, unemployment, and the slow pace of rebuilding after a three-year war with Islamic State.