Al-Sadr breaks the ice and builds bridges…but the Government’s birth is arduous

Written by – Elijah J. Magnier:

Sayed Muqtada al-Sadr has taken the first step in the right direction as the more significant winner in the Iraqi parliamentary elections. He has visited al-Fath group leader Hadi al-Amiri at his house in Baghdad, in the presence of other Shiite leaders who objected, and others who accepted the final Parliamentary elections results issued by the High Election Commission.

This smart political-social visit seems to be Moqtada’s unwitting way to start the negotiations between the Shiite blocs, to form a government eventually next year. That will occur while the pressure related to the presence of the US forces in Iraq is mounting, mainly when the Iraqi-US deal consists of transforming these into “non-combat” forces responsible for fighting terrorism and providing training for the Iraqi security forces. 

The final results issued by the High Electoral Commission did not change much of the initial results, except for five seats. For the Shia main groups, it confirmed the victory of al-Sadr with 73 votes, Nuri al-Maliki with 33 votes, Hadi al-Amiri with 17 votes, Faleh al-Fayyad with four votes, and other Shiite parties with fewer seats.

The outcome of the elections does not mean that al-Sadr can form a national government excluding other Shia groups. The different Kurds (still in disagreement among themselves) and Sunni groups (who suffer a lack of unity like the Shia and the Kurds) are still without an agreement with other Shiite parties.

Muqtada al-Sadr would be unable to reach half of the parliament plus one (165 seats) without the other Shiite parties. In the end, Muhammad Al-Halbousi (Sunni, with 37 seats) and Massoud Barzani (a Kurdish with 31 seats) will fall short and won’t provide Moqtada with the number of MPs required to choose the prime minister. Moreover, both Kurds and Sunni want their share in the new government, which contradicts what al-Sadr hoped for when calling for a national government.

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Proofread: Maurice Brasher

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