Strong showing for Moqtada al-Sadr

Reuters reports:

Supporters of a fiery anti-U.S. cleric may have staged a comeback in Iraq’s parliamentary election in Baghdad’s Sadr City slum, once a bastion of Shi’ite militants and now a bellwether of Shi’ite political sentiment.

Moqtada al-Sadr, who galvanized Iraqi Shi’ites against the U.S. military after the 2003 invasion but has faded from the political scene since he began religious studies in Iran several years ago, broke a long silence ahead of Sunday’s national vote.

He urged followers to vote in the election, an important step for Iraq as it struggles to solidify its democracy and security ahead of a planned U.S. withdrawal by end 2011.

Early indicators show the strategy may have paid off in Sadr City, home to more than 2 million people, for the Iraqi National Alliance (INA), the large Shi’ite coalition Sadr has joined

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