Iraq: Political Leaders Held Talks to Form Government

The Iraqi Shia leader Muqtada Al Sadr held separate meetings with the political rivals after his bloc turned out as triumphant beating the expectation in the national election of Iraq.

The Shia leader held meetings with the other coalitions as part of negotiations over the formation of a new government.

As part of series of meetings with the rivals, Mr. Sadr met the incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Saturday.

The recently held Iraqi elections found no conspicuous triumphant. The Nasr coalition, led by the incumbent Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi was presumed to be victorious.

Abadi’s coalition Nasr, however, turned out as third with 42 seats in 328 seats in the Iraqi parliament.

Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sairoon coalition won 54 out of 328 seats in the parliament in the May 12 vote.

Mr. Sadr’s victory came as a surprise because the Nast coalition led by the incumbent Prime Minister was projected to win the majority given the Abadi government’s success against ISIS.

Iran-backed Fatah coalition, led by Hadi Al-Amiri, became second in the May 12 election with 47 seats in the parliament. The outright majority to form a government takes 165 parliament seats to win.

With no coalition winning an outright majority, the political parties will need negotiations to form a coalition government.

A period of negotiation to form Iraqi government can thus take months. Last time, the process of negotiations took nearly nine months.

Sairoon leader Mr. Sadr cannot become prime minister because he didn’t run as a candidate. But as the leader of the Sairoon, he is expected to play the role of king’s maker.

During his meeting with the Prime Minister, Mr. Sadr said the new government of Iraq will be an inclusive one.

“Your government will be a caring and inclusive one,” he said. “It will cover everyone … in order to achieve reform and prosperity… The door is open to anyone – as long as they want to build the nation,” Sadr told the press.

Prime Minister Abadi said he and Sadr share identical views about forming an inclusive government to ensure stability in Iraq.

“We are not against any political bloc… We work with others, but the process needs someone who leads on the right path to expedite the process of forming a new government and holding the parliament,” Mr. Abadi said.

“The process of government formation must be a national decision and importantly, must include the participation of all the winning blocs,” a statement by al-Sadr’s office read.

Iran has influence in the Iraqi political landscape. Most of the post-Saddam Hossain governments needed Tehran’s approval.

To ensure the continuation of Tehran’ influence in Iraq, Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, commander of foreign operations for Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has been holding talks with Hadi Al-Amiri and other political groups.

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