Report: Iraq Cleric Sadr’s Sight Set On Premiership

Sairoun party has high hopes for June election

Influential cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has long been politically influential in Iraq. His current bloc, Sairoun, had been set to be a leading opposition party trying to hold the rulers to reform promises. Now, they are moving away from that, and toward directly challenging the June vote.

Sadr’s supporters are now on board to run to win, and are talking something modern Iraq has yet to see, an absolute majority in the election, allowing the party to select its own PM. This is fueling speculation that Sadr himself might seek the post.

This isn’t impossible to envision, as Sadr is popular with the Shi’ite majority and probably would be well received. At the same time, he hasn’t expressed personal political aspirations before, and Iraq’ s top Shi’ite leader, Ayatollah Sistani, has long limited direct political involvement, which may be informing the separation of politics and religion.

Comments from the faction could just as easily mean they want to appoint a politician as the PM as opposed to Sadr himself. He’s long commanded the loyalty of his nationalist parties anyhow, which means directly holding the position is not necessary.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of