Iraq's top Shiite cleric has urged followers to participate in Thursday's elections, saying that they should give their votes to those who can safeguard their principles and interests.
In a fatwa, or edict, made available Sunday to The Associated Press, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani also called on followers to avoid divisions. But he stopped short of an unequivocal endorsement of the Shiite coalition.
Al-Sistani urged Shiites to vote for candidates "who can be trusted to protect their principles and safeguard their interests" in the next parliament.
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