BAGHDAD, April 2 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of Iraqis who support the anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr turned out on Friday to vote over who should be the country's new prime minister.
Sadr has called for a referendum on who will be backed to assume the next premier post.
In a statement posted on his website, it said the referendum would be on five candidates, including Ayad Allawi who won 91 seats in the next parliament, his rival incumbent Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki who got 89 seats, along with three other Shiite candidates.
"I hope this could help to form a new government which can fulfill the interests of all Iraqis," an Shiite Iraqi told Xinhua on condition of anonymity after he cast the vote.
Sadr, who is pursuing clerical studies in Iran's holy Shiite city of Qom, has met several politicians from Iraq's Shiite parties there.
They seek Sadr's support after his movement garnered 40 out of the Iraqi National Alliance (INA)'s 70 seats, making his movement a leading party in the INA.