In Rudaw 

Ammar al-Hakim and Haider al-Abadi form electoral alliance

Former Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi formed a coalition with Iraqi Shiite cleric Ammar al-Hakim to contest the October parliamentary election.

Their alliance, called the National Power of the State Coalition, believes “in the state and works to solidify its principles and structure, and works to enhance the prestige and sovereignty of its legitimate institutions,” Abadi said in a statement on Saturday.

Abadi, of the Nasr Coalition, served as prime minister from 2014 to 2018. A rift between him and Nouri al-Maliki split their Dawa party’s votes in the 2018 election, causing it to lose power for the first time in 15 years.

Hakim heads the National Wisdom Movement.

Abadi said he hopes the October election will be fair, represent the people’s will, “and establishes a safe political life that saves the system and the state from its crises in service of the country and the people.”

Iraq will hold elections on October 10, a year early, meeting one of the demands of protesters who took to the streets in October 2019 across central and southern Iraq.

Saturday was the last day for coalitions to register and at least 33 have completed the process with the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC).

The number of political parties registered with the IHEC stands at 267, the head of Erbil’s IHEC office, Haidar Mohammed Akram, said in a press conference on Sunday.

There are 46 seats up for grabs in the Kurdistan Region’s provinces and 146 candidates are vying to fill them, according to Akram. In the Kurdistan Region, 69.5 percent of eligible voters have registered.

Efforts to form a broad Kurdish coalition failed and most Kurdish parties will be running in Iraq’s parliamentary vote as individual parties. One alliance has emerged, however, between the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Gorran (Change).