PUK and State of Law blocs meet in Baghdad

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and State of Law blocs in the Iraqi parliament met in Baghdad on Tuesday, according to a statement.

The two sides discussed the latest developments in Iraq and negotiations between the parties, a statement released by the PUK and State of Law blocs said.

They stressed on improving their relations and deepening “the spirit of responsibility to pass the phase and protect the interests of Iraqi people,” the statement read.

The meeting comes as Iraqi and Kurdish parties are negotiating to form the largest parliamentary bloc and a new government.

On January 9, Sadrist movement, together with Sunni Taqaddum alliance and Kurds, re-elected Mohammed al-Halbousi as parliament speaker opposed by the Iran-aligned camp with a solid majority.

Parliament must in the coming weeks choose the country’s president, who will call on the largest parliamentary alliance to form a government, a process that will be dominated by the Sadrist Movement whoever it chooses to work with.

The Sadrist Movement led by Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr wants to form a national majority government while other Shia parties, composing the Coordination Framework, prefer a consensus government.

Shia groups have dominated Iraqi politics since the U.S.-led overthrow of Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003. They span an array of parties, most with armed wings, but fall broadly now into two camps: those that are pro-Iran and those that oppose Tehran’s influence in Iraq.

The Shia elite have shared control over many ministries, with Iran-aligned groups holding the upper hand until the recent rise of Sadr, the biggest winner in the Oct. 10 election which dealt a crushing blow to the Iran camp.

For the first time post-Saddam, the Iran-aligned groups could see themselves in opposition in parliament.

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