ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – In a joint statement, the leading parties of the Kurdistan Region welcomed a new alliance between the top two vote-getting coalitions, one led by cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and the other by Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi militia leader Hadi al-Amiri.
“We as the politburo of the PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) and the KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) view this step positively. We believe it is the beginning of a good political roadmap and alliance to pass the current political turmoil,” read the joint statement issued on Tuesday.
Earlier that day in the holy city of Najaf, Sadr and Amiri announced that their coalitions had joined to form the largest parliamentary bloc.
Since Sadr's Sairoon and Amiri's al-Fatih received more votes than any others in May's national elections, such an alliance stands a realistic chance of having the support needed to complete the tricky task of forming Iraq's next government.
If the Kurdish bloc in parliament were to join as well, it would go a long way toward securing the seats needed to do so, something that has led to Kurdish lawmakers being referred to as "kingmakers" in past elections.
No direct reference was made to specifics of Iraq's current electoral crisis that calls into serious question the validity of the results. Winning parties appear to be going forward with talks much as they would if the vote was not being contested.
The joint statement went on to say that the KDP and PUK would soon form a joint delegation to discuss and negotiate government formation with other parties in Baghdad.
It also called all parties in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq to overcome their differences and find common ground to form a national government of consensus, to carry out their mutual duties, and to preserve national unity.
Sadr's Sairoon Coalition won the May 12 parliamentary elections by securing 54 seats out of a total of 329 in parliament. The cleric has been one of the staunchest opposers of US influence in post-2003 Iraq and has in recent years come out against Iranian influence as well, pitting him against Shia leaders with greater ties to Tehran.
Prominent among these is Amiri, a top commander of the Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militias and known for accepting direct Iranian support for his Badr Organization militia. His political party, al-Fatih Coalition, won 47 seats to come in second place in the national vote.
Editing by John J. Catherine