ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the winning bloc in Iraq's May 12 parliamentary elections, announced on Thursday that he had completed the "final touches" of preparations to form an inclusive government.
He said it would be "a government not Sunni or Shiite, Arab or Kurdish, national or sectarian, but an authentic Iraqi government and a constructive opposition in a peaceful political process."
The comments came in a post on Twitter, made upon returning to his home in Najaf after four days of extensive meetings in Baghdad aimed at creating a political alliance large enough to get the votes necessary to approve the next prime minister and cabinet.
Though he cannot be appointed prime minister because he did not personally run as a candidate, he has a great deal of clout due to his Sairoon Coalition securing 54 seats in the election, more than any other bloc.
"Today I completed the picture and completed my final touches," he said.
The post continued, "We will brief others on the details of the many meetings so that they can have correct information and then we will wait for the honest blocs with precious patriotic tendencies to form a strong, equal government that gives the people their rights."
During his stay in Baghdad, al-Sadr met with current Iraqi Prime Minister and Nasr Coalition leader Haider al-Abadi, al-Fatah Coalition and Badr Organization head Hadi al-Amiri, al-Hikma leader Ammar al-Hakim, al-Wataniya leader Iyad Allawi, as well as members of delegations representing the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
The populist cleric also met with Ján Kubiš, head of the UN mission in Iraq and several other Iraqi politicians, with the notable exception of former Prime Minister and State of Law coalition leader Nouri al-Maliki, a rival of Sadr.
In the post, Sadr stressed in all his meetings the need to end years of corruption and unemployment and to prosecute those who are responsible for the wasting of public money.