With a victory in this month’s election, influential Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has said that he is planning an ‘inclusive’ government. He is just starting to hold meetings with the leaders of other political blocs as he tries to secure a majority for his government.
On Saturday, Sadr met with Prime Minister Hayder Abadi, whose bloc came in third place. He followed that up Sunday by meeting with Hadi Amiri. The meeting with Amiri comes as a bit of a surprise, as he was Iran’s candidate of choice, and Sadr has been very clear about avoiding Iranian influence in his government.
Sadr’s position isn’t surprising. He’s long been critical of other Iraqi governments being too beholden to foreign interests, usually Iran and the US. Iran also expressed opposition to Sadr winning the election, though he still secured a plurality over the other parties.
It’s like Sadr would prefer to come up with a government without Amiri’s bloc involved because of his ties with Iran, but so far it’s unclear if he has a path to do so. Iraq has a large number of political blocs, and cobbling together a majority with them is always a challenge.