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Sadr’s Reluctance Drags Iraq Government Formation

Sadr’s Reluctance Drags Iraq Government Formation

Friday, 10 August, 2018 - 08:15
Basra protests, AFP
Baghdad, New York– Asharq Al Awsat and Ali Barada
Sadrist Movement Leader and top Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said he is reluctant to participate in the formation the upcoming government, refusing to enter into parliamentary alliances that are based on sectarian, ethnic and partisan quotas. Sadr’s position jeopardizes efforts for forming Iraq’s next government.

Sadr issued an official statement on Thursday saying that he will no longer continue supporting Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for another term in office.

The statement also referred to the four-week-old popular protests as “shy steps that do little to meet the protesters' demands.”

Sadr said he preferred to undertake “constructive political opposition” if political forces did not meet conditions he set for forming the government and the method of electing a qualified prime minister.

Commenting on Sadr's statement, Fatah Alliance member Amer Al-Fayez said “the failure of political blocs to agree on alliances combined with a foggy political atmosphere makes everything possible, whether it be the formation of a government or opposition blocs.

Fatah Alliance is a Shiite bloc coalition that was formed to contest the 2018 general election. It includes former groups involved in Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces).

In the meantime, Special Representative and Head United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) Jan Kubis hoped the next government would form in time for "Eid al-Adha," which takes place late August.

Kubis said that forming the upcoming government is a part of meeting the aspirations of Iraqis who, in recent demonstrations, had sent a "very strong message" expressing their frustration with the incumbent political system.

Iraqis have also taken to street against sectarian quotas and foreign interference in Iraqi politics.

“There is a chance,” Kubis told Asharq Al-Awsat when addressing the possibility of the nation-wide prominent Shiite authority Ali al-Sistani instigating change among prominent political forces.

Kubis called on Baghdad powers to carry on with the policy of openness initiated by Abadi with neighboring countries, especially Saudi Arabia and Gulf states.

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