The Iraqi president calls for the new parliament to convene and expects difficult negotiations to form the government
The Sadrist bloc led by Muqtada al-Sadr topped the winning blocs in the elections by obtaining 73 seats in the 329-seat parliament.
The new Iraqi parliament will hold its first session on the ninth of next January, according to a decree signed last Thursday by the President of the Republic, Barham Salih, about 3 months after the legislative elections that were held on the tenth of last October.
Saleh said – in a tweet last Thursday – that “the hopes are set to meet the national entitlement by forming a capable and effective government that protects the interests of the country and enhances sovereignty, protecting and serving the Iraqis, and this requires solidarity in order to achieve the reform required for a stable and prosperous Iraq.”
– Iraqi Media Network (@iraqmedianet) December 30, 2021
The Republican decree comes after the approval of the Federal Supreme Court last Monday on the election results. And the fourth paragraph of Article 73 of the Constitution stipulates that the elected House of Representatives is called to convene within a period not exceeding 15 days from the date of ratification of the election results.
The deputies will elect the Speaker and two deputies in their first session, headed by the eldest deputy, by a simple majority (50 + 1), that is, 165 deputies out of 329. Within 30 days, they will elect a new President of the Republic, who in turn must designate a Prime Minister within 15 days from the date of his election The candidate will be the “largest parliamentary bloc”, according to the constitution. As of the day he is appointed, the new prime minister has 30 days to form the government.
Government formation talks
According to the final results of the elections, the Sadrist bloc led by Muqtada al-Sadr won the largest number of parliamentary seats, by obtaining 73 seats in the 329-seat parliament, while the “Progress” bloc led by the dissolved Parliament Speaker Muhammad al-Halbousi came in second place after obtaining 38 seats. And the independents on 38 seats as well.
The “State of Law” coalition led by former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki won 33 seats, while the Kurdistan Democratic Party led by Massoud Barzani won 31 seats, while its Kurdish rival, the Kurdistan Alliance, won 18 seats. The New Generation Movement, founded by the Kurdish opposition leader Shaswar Abdul Wahed, won 9 seats.
The “Al-Fateh Alliance” led by Hadi al-Amiri, the main representative of the popular crowd factions, won 16 seats, and the “National State Forces” alliance headed by former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi – and also includes the “Hikma Movement” led by Ammar al-Hakim – recorded a significant decline to only 5 deputies. The Azm coalition, led by businessman Khamis al-Khanjar, won 12 seats.
Despite the timid presence of the independents, they revealed a coalition of 28 deputies, especially from the Emtlad movement, which emerged from the protests, some other independent deputies, and the Kurdish New Generation Movement.
Political discussions are currently focused on the search for the nomination of new personalities to take over the prime minister, the republic and parliament, amid opposition to the so-called coordination framework that includes most of the prominent Shiite forces (except for the Sadrist bloc) by re-nominating the current Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi again for the position. While the Shiite forces affiliated with the coordination framework seem to be looking for a consensus, al-Sadr stressed more than once his desire to form political alliances that would lead to a majority government.
The Sadrist bloc does not have enough alliances to announce the most numerous parliamentary bloc, and then nominate its candidate to head the government, as it will have to obtain an absolute majority, which is unlikely without making alliances with the coordinating framework forces or with the Sunni or Kurdish forces.
Yesterday, Wednesday, al-Sadr received at his home in the city of Najaf, south of Baghdad, forces from the Shiite coordination framework to discuss the government formation, with the exception of the meeting al-Maliki. But no clear results were announced after the meeting, said two Shiite officials who attended the meeting.
“The atmosphere was positive and we think we need to hold more meetings to find common ground,” said one of the officials.
Legislative elections were held last October before their normal date in 2022 in order to calm the anger of the street following mass demonstrations that swept Baghdad and the south, calling for regime change, and protesting against corruption, eroding infrastructure, and unemployment.