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After Sistani’s Warning, Iraqi Blocs Seek Forming Largest Parliamentary Alliance
Tuesday, 31 July, 2018 - 08:45 -
Baghdad- Hamza Mustafa
Iraqi political blocs that were victorious in the parliamentary elections stepped up efforts to form the largest parliamentary alliance in wake of the eruption of unprecedented demonstrations and protests and warnings from religious authorities.
The move to form a bloc came after influential Shiite cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani strongly warned last week that failure to meet the people's demands would have bad consequences. Sistani’s representative indicated that demonstrators have the “green light” to diversify their protest methods, provided they remain peaceful.
Meanwhile, head of Sadrist movement Moqtada al-Sadr called for halting the negotiations over the largest coalition until people's demands are met.
Shiite leaders did not comment on their efforts to form the largest union. A source close to the negotiations told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Fatih bloc, led by Hadi al-Amiri, and State of Law Coalition, headed by Nouri al-Maliki, have made important progress on the formation of the largest alliance.
They moved in two directions. They negotiated with three Shiite blocs: Sairoon, al-Nasr, and al-Hikma and then they held talks with Sunnis and Kurds to include them in this coalition, according to the source.
The source, who preferred to remain anonymous, explained that the Fatih bloc insists on including Sairoon in the large alliance, which is against the State of Law’s wishes.
Sadr refuses to join a bloc that includes the State of Law given that all mediation efforts have failed to bring him and Maliki together.
Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi’s bloc “is the weakest link,” said the source, adding that he remains a strong candidate for a second term. The Fatih bloc, which had nominated Amiri to head a new government, said that Abadi must be one of the candidates, but not the only one.
The source revealed that Maliki had held a meeting two days ago with a delegation, headed by governor Mohamed al-Halbusi, from the Anbar province. The meeting is a renewal of an old alliance between “al-Hall” bloc led by Jamal Karbouli and the State of Law.
Karbouli told Asharq Al-Awsat that the meeting was not political and was not related to alliances, but “focused on the situation in Anbar.”
When asked whether Sunni leaders agreed on a candidate for the position of parliament speaker, Karbouli noted that it was agreed that Halbusi, member of the Hall bloc, would be the candidate, a nomination which is accepted by other political blocs.