Pro-Iran Shia bloc resume efforts in forming new Iraqi cabinet   

Pro-Iran Shia bloc resume efforts in forming new Iraqi cabinet   
Pro-Iran Shia groups come with a new initiative to break months of political impasse after last year’s October parliamentary elections. 
3 min read
15 August, 2022
Supporters of Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr continue a sit-in protest on the 13th day with the tents that they set up around the Parliament building in the Green Zone, Baghdad, Iraq on 11 August 2022. [Getty]

Pro-Iran Shia factions gathered under the banner of the Coordination Framework launched "a new initiative" toward Iraqi Sunnis and Kurds in a bid to form a new government after ten months of a political stalemate.

Shia politician and head of the Fatih Alliance, Hadi al-Amiri, has been authorised by the Coordination Framework to negotiate with all the Iraqi sides to accelerate establishing a new cabinet.  

Al-Amiri visited the Iraqi Kurdistan region on Sunday, where he met with heads of several ruling and opposition Kurdish parties, including Masoud Barzani, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), in Erbil's Salahadin.

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"Both sides emphasized that political parties should step forward to end the political deadlock and make efforts to end the political crisis," according to a statement from Barzani's office. 

On the same day, Amiri also met with Bafel Jalal Talabani, head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), another Kurdish ruling party. 

"The meeting focused on unifying national efforts to find constitutional and legal frameworks to escape Iraq's unwanted situation. The two sides agreed to continue discussions and constructive dialogue to overcome the dispute," reads a statement by PUK's media platform. 

"Amiri came with an initiative of starting a national dialogue among all the Iraqi political sides, the Kurds accepted that," Mohammed Hawrami, a Kurdish political observer told The New Arab.

"Barzani has told Amiri that his party is ready to attend future sessions of the parliament and participate in the upcoming Iraqi government, if KDP's rival, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), changes its formal candidate for Iraq's presidency," Hawrami added. 

Barham Salih, Iraq's incumbent president is PUK's candidate for Iraq's presidency.

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Amiri also met with the speaker of the Iraqi Parliament Mohammed al-Halbousi.

Ahmed Haji Rashid, a former Iraqi lawmaker from the Islamic Justice Group, told TNA that Sadr and his pro-Iran Shia rivals eventually will reach an agreement via a third party to establish a new cabinet if guarantees are given to Sadr that current officials from the Sadr Movement in Mustafa al-Kadhimi's caretaker government remain in their positions.  

Iraq held its first-ever early election on 10 October 2021, in which Muqtada al-Sadr's bloc won a majority with 73 seats.

After 10 months, however, different Iraqi factions have yet to agree on naming a president and forming a government capable of making reforms.

Since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, the country has been marred with a proportional (Muhasasa) ruling system, in which the Shia hold the PM, the Sunnis run the parliament speaker post and the Kurds run the presidency. 

Failed to form a government free of Iran-backed parties that have dominated many state institutions for years, Sadr ordered all 74 of his lawmakers – around a quarter of the parliament – to resign in June. 

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Divisions between Sadr and the Iran-aligned groups and Kurds vying for the post of Iraqi president have already forced the country into its second-longest period without an elected government. 

Early this month, supporters of Sadr stormed the Iraqi parliament in an attempt to hinder the Coordination Framework in appointing Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani for the prime minister's post. 

Last week Sadr said that by the end of this week, the Iraqi judiciary should dissolve the parliament. However, the Supreme Judicial Council, Iraq's top court, said Sunday it does not have the authority to dissolve the country's parliament. 

Salih Mohmmed al-Iraqi, a controversial personality on Twitter thought to be close to Sadr, called on supporters yesterday to organise a million-person rally on Saturday to ask for dissolving the parliament. 

The Coordination Framework said earlier that the parliament would have to convene to dissolve itself. On Friday, supporters of the group demonstrated in Baghdad to protest the occupation of the legislature by al-Sadr's supporters.