Pro-Iran faction in Iraq sticks to its pick for premier
The main coalition of pro-Iran parties in Iraq said Monday it would keep its candidate for the post of prime minister, despite a backlash from its main Shiite rival.
The country is at a political impasse, with the two main Shiite groups clashing since October 2021 elections over who will be the next premier and how to appoint him.
The group headed by firebrand cleric Moqtada Sadr wants parliament dissolved and early elections, but the Coordination Framework alliance of pro-Tehran factions wants a government to be put in place first.
On Monday, the Coordination Framework said it had reached an “understanding” with other political factions on how to proceed.
In a press release published by the INA state news agency, the Coordination Framework reiterated “its total commitment to its candidate presented for the post of Prime Minister, Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani.”
The group’s nomination of Sudani as premier had previously angered Sadr, whose supporters stormed parliament in late July, demanding fresh elections. They then staged a weeks-long sit-in outside the legislature.
On Monday, the Coordination Framework claimed to have reached “understandings with the national forces.”
It said it would “continue dialogue with all the parties ... to form a government endowed with full powers.”
The Coordination Framework also welcomed a declaration by Sunni-backed parliament speaker Mohammed Al-Halbussi and the Democratic Party of Kurdistan (KDP).
On Sunday these two factions had reiterated their support for “early elections,” but preceded by “the formation of a government.”
Iraq’s latest crisis culminated at the end of August with Sadr supporters clashing with the army and the Iran-backed factions.
More than 30 Sadr supporters were killed and hundreds wounded in nearly 24 hours of violence that ended when he called on his supporters to pull out and announced he was retiring from politics.
Under Iraq’s constitution, parliament can only be dissolved by an absolute majority vote in the house, following a request by one-third of deputies, or by the prime minister with the approval of the president.