Image copyright AFP Image caption Shi’ite cleric Ali Abdulhadi Sadr
Iraq’s election commission says incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi won the most votes, but cleric Ali Abdulhadi Sadr – who previously led armed campaigns against American forces – came second.
The results also show former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki came third, with many local voters claiming his campaign was corrupt.
Thousands of complaints have been received from election officials and candidates, who were involved in corruption.
Officials claim fraud in multiple regions.
The Iraqi Election Commission said Mr Abadi had won 8.06 million votes, followed by Mr Sadr with 7.22 million.
Video caption Iraqi politicians react to Sadr victory at cleric’s headquarters
The figure marks an increase for Mr Abadi, who beat Mr Sadr’s militia in 2017 elections.
In the cities of Nasiriya and Basra, Mr Maliki scored 6.5 million and 6.2 million votes respectively.
But in the provinces of Thar Al-Kut, Anbar and Salahuddin, where he was running, he received just 2.3 million votes.
Mr Maliki, who led Iraq for eight years until 2014, claims fraud by political rivals.
Image copyright AFP Image caption Mr Sadr has said he will run for prime minister in the future
In a statement, his campaign director Ahmad Sami al-Moayad called on politicians to remain vigilant for the sake of Iraq and its future.
“The vast majority of the results of this vote are contested and some provinces had no results because the result sheets have gone missing,” he told reporters.
He added that a criminal conspiracy was behind the results.
There has been a number of complaints about the alleged fraud over election results.
BBC Trending . . . of the election based on preliminary results.
Many results are already proving difficult to verify because of irregularities and flawed electronic tallying.
Although Mr Sadr was initially expecting to run for president – the official role of Iraqi head of state – in a horse-trading process that will allow lawmakers to form a new government, he may instead enter into the race for prime minister.
There are eight key posts on offer. The three major blocs – led by Mr Abadi’s State of Law, Mr Maliki’s State of Law, and Mr Sadr’s Victory Alliance – as well as the secular Unity coalition.
The next prime minister will need to form a coalition to hold power for five years.