Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Haidar Hamdani/AFP/Getty Images

Preliminary results show that the coalition of influential Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has surprisingly emerged as the front-runner in Iraq’s first national parliamentary election since the defeat of ISIS, leading incumbent Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi who's backed by the West, reports the Washington Post.

Why it matters: Sadr did not formally run. But if the coalition maintains the lead, Sadr has the ability to influence the make-up of Iraq’s next government. The Post notes that Sadr, a staunch critic of Washington, had commanded a militia that fought against American troops during the Iraq war. Final election results are expected Monday. [Go deeper: What's to know about Iraq's election]

Editor's note: An earlier version incorrectly stated that Moqtada al-Sadr would lead the next government if his coalition wins.

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Microphones will be muted during parts of Thursday's presidential debate

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Commission on Presidential Debates adopted new rules on Monday to mute microphones to allow President Trump and Joe Biden two minutes of uninterrupted time per segment during Thursday night's debate, AP reports.

Why it matters: In the September debate, Trump interrupted Biden 71 times, compared with Biden's 22 interruptions of Trump.

Updated 29 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Politics: Trump says if Biden's elected, "he'll listen to the scientists"Trump calls Fauci a "disaster" on campaign call.
  2. Health: Coronavirus hospitalizations are on the rise — 8 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week.
  3. States: Wisconsin judge reimposes capacity limit on indoor venues.
  4. Media: Trump attacks CNN as "dumb b*stards" for continuing to cover pandemic.
  5. Business: Consumer confidence surveys show Americans are getting nervousHow China's economy bounced back from coronavirus.
  6. Sports: We've entered the era of limited fan attendance.
  7. Education: Why education technology can’t save remote learning.

Supreme Court denies Pennsylvania GOP request to limit mail-in voting

Protesters outside Supreme Court. Photo: Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday denied a request from Pennsylvania's Republican Party to shorten the deadlines for mail-in ballots in the state. Thanks to the court's 4-4 deadlock, ballots can be counted for several days after Election Day.

Why it matters: It's a major win for Democrats that could decide the fate of thousands of ballots in a crucial swing state that President Trump won in 2016. The court's decision may signal how it would deal with similar election-related litigation in other states.