Sadr calls on independent lawmakers to form new government

Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr delivers a sermon to worshippers during Eid al-Fitr prayers marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan at the Kufa mosque near Najaf, Iraq June 5, 2019. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Wednesday called on the independent lawmakers to for a new Iraqi government within 15 days, after his alliance failed to form a large parliamentary group in March.

“Save the Nation” alliance between the Sadrist Movement, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Taqaddum Party led by parliament speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi failed to form the largest parliamentary bloc in March due to disagreements with the other Shia parties and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) over candidates for the positions of presidency and prime minister.

The tripartite alliance announced KDP’s Rebar Ahmed as its candidate for the presidency and Mohammed Jaafar al-Sadr for the premiership.

Separately, the PUK announced that incumbent Barham Salih was its only candidate for the presidency.

Under a power-sharing system designed to avoid sectarian conflict, Iraq’s president is a Kurd, its prime minister a Shia and its parliament speaker a Sunni.

Sadr said in a tweet on Tuesday that his alliance with the KDP and Taqaddum Party couldn’t form a new government due to a federal court ruling.

The federal government ruled in March that a third of lawmakers is needed to hold a parliamentary session on the selection of a new president.

Sadr further said the Coordination Framework which includes the other Shia parties had “failed to form a compromise government”.

He called on the independent lawmakers to form an “independent coalition whose members are not less than 40 and join the tripartite alliance to form an independent government in which it will not have any ministry”.

Sadr offered a 15-day window to the independent lawmakers to form a new government in Baghdad.

Sadr’s tweet came hours after the Coordination announced a new initiative in an effort to put an end to the political stalemate in Iraq.

The group called in Kurdish parties to reach an agreement on a candidate for the presidency and for a prime minister that belongs to the biggest Shia bloc.

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