PM Abadi, Sadr alliance brings Iraq government closer
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said on Saturday their political blocs would enter into an alliance, bringing Iraq one step closer to forming a new government after an election marred by low turnout and fraud allegations, Reuters reported.
The alliance between Abadi’s Victory Alliance, which came third in a May parliamentary election, and Sadr’s Saeroon list, which won the largest number of seats, increases the chances of forming a government after weeks of political tensions.
“We announce a cross-sectarian, cross-ethnic alliance to speed up forming the next government and to agree on common points that guarantee the interests of the Iraqi people,” Sadr said at a news conference in the Shi’ite holy city of Najaf.
He called for a wider alliance consisting of all components of Iraqi society that would form an inclusive government.
“I affirm that this alliance is not in contrast to any other alliances either of the two lists have previously entered into with other blocs, rather, it flows in the same direction and same principles,” said Abadi.
Abadi and Sadr both called on the leaders of other blocs to meet and “agree on the coming steps” in order to speed up the formation of an inclusive Iraqi government.
Political leaders in Iraq traditionally hold such meetings after elections as part of the lengthy and often complicated process of forming a coalition government, as no one party ever wins enough seats to form a government on its own.
The process is further complicated this time round because the next parliament is born of an election marred by historically low turnout and allegations of fraud.
The outgoing parliament has mandated a nationwide manual recount of votes and Iraq’s top court upheld that move, which faced legal challenges.
A fire at a storage site housing half of Baghdad’s ballot boxes had raised tensions. Security forces said it was deliberate and made arrests but said most ballots were saved. No party has been identified as responsible yet.
The recount will slow down the process as the new parliament and government cannot be formed until the results are officially ratified by Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court.
Political leaders need to meet soon in order to end that “crisis” and speed up the process, Abadi said.