In a surprise move, influential Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and militia leader Hadi Amiri have announced on Tuesday that their political blocs will ally. As the top two seat-getters in the May 12 election, this would go a long way toward forming a government.
This is a surprising move as Sadr had campaigned heavily on the idea of Iraq being more independent, and less aligned with either the US or Iran. Amiri, by contrast, is the head of the Badr Brigade, and is very close with the Iranian government.
The announcement of the deal said that the blocs would be carving out a “nationalist” alliance. This is more what Sadr has long advocated. It is not clear what positions within a coalition government are being offered to Amiri’s bloc.
Final seat totals are still not totally clear, as the parliament has called for a recount, and a fire at a Baghdad ballot warehouse has left that in limbo. Some of the worse performing officials are demanding a re-vote, which may be one thing Amiri and Sadr, as the top performers, can agree they wouldn’t want.