Sadr meets Hakim to discuss possible governing alliance

Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the winning election alliance Sayirun, has met with the prominent Shia leader Ammar al-Hakim, head of the National Hikma (Wisdom) Movement, in Najaf to discuss forming a government.

Both sides say they agree on the need to form a representative government.

“I am thankful to the Iraqi people who voted in the current elections, those who helped reform triumph. [For] even those who abstained from voting, thank you, as they didn’t give their votes to the corrupt,” Sadr told journalists following the meeting.

“God willing, we are looking at a new stage for building in Iraq a democratic, paternal and technocratic government,” Sadr added.

The two leaders have not always been on good terms, according to many sources, with Sadr once saying he would not engage with Hakim politically or share a platform this him prior to the election.

Hakim’s alliance came out as the sixth largest party in the election, even trailing behind the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), with a preliminary result of 22 seats.

Hakim termed the meeting a “valuable opportunity,” where they discussed the election and its results and potential party combinations in government.

“We examined the necessity of forming a government that is national, strong, independent in its political decisions, dependent on the will of the free Iraqi nation, and with a national orientation that transcends components and represents all the sons of the people of Iraq,” Hakim told journalists.

Talk of a possible Sayirun-Hikma alliance marks a good start, Hakim said. Both leaders are open to further talks with any party standing on an anti-corruption, cross-sectarian and cross-ethnic, and pro-reform platform, he added.

He also called on the election commission to seriously examine complaints and allegations of fraud.

“It is clear that the decrease in turnout in elections is a message from the people of Iraq that they want new faces, serious programs and steps to provide the necessary and proper services to the sons of our people,” Hakim added.

Sadr has said he could support incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for a second term, owing to similarities in their election pitch.

In a recent pun-heavy tweet, Sadr hinted at potential alliances he wishes to see in an upcoming government.

The KDP, Abadi’s Nasr (Victory) Alliance, Hakim’s Hikma, and some other parties were included in the tweet. It is not clear whether Sadr deliberately omitted Hashd al-Shaabi’s Fatih and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) among others.

Brett McGurk, the US special presidential envoy, met with former Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani and PM Nechirvan Barzani in a bid to influence the shape of the next government.

Meanwhile, Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp’s (IRGC) extraterritorial Quds Force, is in southern Iraq seeking to assemble a pro-Iran Shia majority government among the divided Shia blocs. Source