Iraq’s political leaders took another step towards forming a new government. The latest move was Moqtada al-Sadr of Sairoon and Prime Minister Haidar Abadi of Nasr announcing that they had reached an agreement. This came after the premier visited Sadr in Najaf. They proclaimed they were committed to a nonsectarian government. This came after a number of consultations to get Abadi to join. That included meetings with Hadi Amiri from the Fatah list, and intense lobbying from Iran. Since 2005 creating a new administration has taken two steps. First the Shiites lists converge, and form the largest coalition, and then the other parties are brought in. Major points of contentions are over which parties will get which ministries, and who will become the prime minister. Sadr’s Sairoon ran on a platform of ending the ethnosectarian quotas that have been used to determine who gets which positions, and called for a technocratic government. It’s yet to be seen whether Sairoon can achieve either of those. Parties take part in regimes so that they can gain power via offices, which gives them control over money and jobs, which are used for patronage networks and corruption schemes. They would not be willing to join with Sadr if they would not be able to attain these privileges.
Previously Sadr had made deals with Ammar Hakim’s Hikma, Vice President Iyad Allawi’s Wataniya, and Amiri’s Fatah. 165 seats are needed to form a majority in parliament and get the right to form a new government. Sadr’s Sairoon won 54 seats, Hikma 19, Wataniya 21, and Fatah 47. Now Nasr has joined with another 42. All together that is 183 seats, more than enough.
On another front, the judges that replaced the Election Commission said that the recount called for by parliament would only happen in sites where formal complaints were filed. The main charges of fraud have occurred in Sulaymaniya, Kirkuk, and Anbar. Hopefully that will speed the process, and the vote can be certified overcoming another requirement to create a new administration.
Al Aalem, “The specter of constitutional vacuum looms over Iraq. The chances of settlement over candidates are rising,” 6/21/18
Aboulenein, Ahmed, “Iraq plans manual election recount only for suspect ballots,” Reuters, 6/24/18
Associated Press, “In about-face, Iraq’s maverick al-Sadr moves closer to Iran,” 6/24/18
Hassan, Falih and Nordland, Rod, “Iraqi Political Alliance Unites a U.S. Friend and Foe,” New York Times, 6/23/18
Iraq News Network, “Al Fatah Alliance: A disagreement between Abadi and al-Amiri about the candidate for the presidency of the next government,” 6/21/18
Al Mirbad, “Abadi and Sadr announce the alliance between Sairoon and Nasr,” 6/23/18
This Sadr is not the one I read of years ago. Nor does he look the same. A bit less likely to be blown over in a strong Iraqi wind and his politics appear to be more enlightened. To me a definite change from the young one I first knew from the press.
He has changed but the press coverage of him hasn't. Thus almost every article has to say "firebrand" or "mercurial" etc.
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