ICEC

Iraqi rival groups both announce parliamentary blocs to form new government

Rival Iraqi political factions said on Sunday they had each formed alliances capable of forming a government in the new parliament after months of political uncertainty following a May election.

Lawmakers led by cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said they created an alliance that would give them a majority bloc in parliament.

A rival grouping led by militia commander Hadi al-Ameri and former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki responded by saying it had formed its own alliance that would be the largest bloc in parliament after it got some lawmakers to defect from the other group.

Ameri and Maliki are Iran’s two most prominent allies in Iraq. Abadi is seen as the preferred candidate of the United States, while Sadr portrays himself as a nationalist who rejects both American and Iranian influence.

Iraq’s parliament contains 329 seats and is set to convene on Monday, when it will elect a speaker and launch the government formation process.

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