ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Monday revealed potential political allies needed to form a new government following Saturday’s as-of-yet inconclusive elections.
Sadr, who is the winner with 53 seats out of a total of 329 in Baghdad's parliament, hinted at those with whom he intends to establish a new government comprised of "non-partisan technocrats."
In a tweet on his official Twitter account, Sadr described the prospective cabinet and appeared to indirectly name 12 parties and alliances.
Those thought to be referred to are al-Hikma, al-Wataniya, Irada, New Generation, Gorran (Change), al-Qarrar, Bayariq, al-Nasr (Victory), Baghdad Alliance, Hawiyatuna, Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), and Kawadir.
Sadr’s tweet excluded mention of Former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law Coalition, al-Fatih led by Shia militia leader Hadi al-Amiri, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), all known for having close ties to Iran.
Projecting himself as an Iraqi nationalist, Sadr has a zealous following among the young, poor, and dispossessed among Shia Iraqis, but had been sidelined by influential Iran-backed figures.
Unlike current Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, a rare ally of both the United States and Iran, Sadr is an opponent of both countries, both wielding influence in Iraq since a US-led operation toppled Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003 thrust the Shia majority into power.
Sadr has led two uprisings against US forces in Iraq and is one of the few Shia leaders to distance himself from Iran.
A source familiar with ongoing talks between Iraqi political parties told Kurdistan 24 on Tuesday that the head of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qassem Soleimani is currently in Baghdad to meet with Shia parties in an attempt to prevent Sadr from choosing the new Premier.
Sadr cannot become prime minister since he did not personally run in the election, but the fact that those within his party hold a large number of seats could put him in a position to pick someone for the job.
Editing by John J. Catherine