The May Iraqi election looks to finally be resolved this weekend, with cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s bloc announcing a parliamentary coalition including 15 different factions, including Prime Minister Hayder Abadi’s Victory Party, and amounting to 177 or 329 seats.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are forming a government, but they have enough seats to do so. On Monday, the parliament will meet to elect a speaker, and that speaker will formally invite the coalition to try to form a government.
With 16 different parties involved, this is likely to involve some negotiations on several key posts, including the prime minister. Abadi was keen to keep his premiership, but Sadr has suggested he wants the next PM to not be an MP, but someone politically unaffiliated.
Sadr’s bloc surprised many by winning the May election, and even after a nationwide recount, he retained the plurality. Sadr has pushed for a unity government staking out a position of international independence, limiting ties with both the US and Iran. He also has promised to tackle corruption.