Widespread disillusionment with Iraq's current political class appears to have helped influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr become the early front-runner in national elections marked by record low turnout.
The reports come a day after Iraqi leaders - including outgoing Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi - met with the envoy for the US-led anti-Islamic State group coalition Brett McGurk "to discuss the formation of a strong and stable Iraqi government", according to a statement from Iraq's parliament speaker.
The Sadr-led army has also been blamed for "the killing of thousands of Sunni Muslims in the sectarian violence that plagued Iraq in 2006 and 2007", says the BBC.
Populist Shiite religious scholar Moqtada Sadr Tuesday eyed a governing coalition after dealing a blow to both Iranian and USA influence with a shock election triumph that upended Iraqi politics.
Despite the election setback, Abadi might still be granted a second term in office by parliament and on Monday he called on all political blocs to respect the results and suggested he was willing to work with Sadr to form a government. "And we stand with the Iraqi people's decisions".
He can not become prime minister as he did not run in the election, though his apparent victory puts him in a position to pick someone for the job.
Under article 76 of Iraq's constitution, the right to form a government falls to the political bloc with the most seats.
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Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force commander General Qassem Soleimani was in Baghdad for talks with Shiite leaders to enforce the "Iranian choice" on the formation of a new government after the announcement of the Iraqi parliamentary election results.
Al-Abadi has thus far allowed American military into Iraq to stage and fight ISIS and other terror groups.
Preliminary results showed that Iranian-backed al-Ameri's bloc was in second place, while al-Abadi's Victory Alliance was third. The government should be formed within 90 days of the official results.
More than two million Iraqis are still displaced across the country and IS militants continue to mount deadly attacks despite having lost control of the territory they once held.
The elections commission has announced results from 16 of Iraq's 19 provinces.
It is not yet clear who will be Iraq's next prime minister, with Sadr eyeing a governing coalition.