Politics & Economics

Negotiations ongoing as Iraqi politicians attempt to form largest parliamentary bloc

Iraq

Four months have passed since the Iraqi national elections in May 2018. Now that the Iraqi Supreme Court has approved the results, the political coalitions are negotiating the formation of a bloc before the start of the first parliamentary session within two weeks.

After the Iraqi Supreme Court approved the results for the 2018 Iraqi Elections held in May, Iraqi parties and coalitions negotiated amongst each other to form the largest parliamentary bloc.

Despite the elections being held in May 2018, the final results have only just been released and confirmed recently due to allegations of fraud following the release of the original results. As a result of the accusations, the Iraqi Independent High Commission for Elections (IHEC) launched a manual recount of the votes to give more accurate results. The results of the recount showed very little change.

On Sunday, five coalitions; the Nasr Coalition led by current Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Sa’iroun led by Muqtada al Sadr, Hikma Movement led by Ammar al-Hakim, Wataniya Coalition led by Iyad Allawi and the Ittihad al-Quwa Coalition met together in Baghdad’s Babylon Hotel in order to form the largest parliamentary bloc before the first Parliamentary session set to be held in 13 days.

After the meeting, the parties issued a press release in which they claimed to have created the “nucleus” for the largest parliamentary bloc. This shows that the parties are open to including other coalitions in their attempt to form the largest bloc. “This meeting confirms that the allies that are meeting today make up an important pivot, all of the allies, in fact, are strong blocs who have proved to the public and their blocs that they are meeting to form the largest bloc,” said Adnan al Sarraj, the head of the Tanmiya Institute for Strategic Studies.

While many consider this coalition the most likely coalition to form the next government, a representatives of the Fatah Coalition led by Hadi al-Ameri has tweeted that their coalition is in talks with the State of Law coalition led by former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, the National Axis Coalition, and the two Kurdish Parties; Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) to form the largest bloc to lead the next Iraqi Parliament.

Many observers say that it is yet too early to call the victors in the battle to announce the largest bloc and that this will be revealed within the next two weeks, before the first parliamentary session convenes. “I expect things to change over the next two weeks in time for the opening of the first parliamentary session. We will witness many changes affecting the bloc, perhaps there will be a new agreement made with another bloc on a different criterion which will entail the formation of a new bloc,” says Hamza Mustafa an Iraqi political analyst.

According to the Iraqi Constitution, the current Iraqi President must call on the new parliament to hold their first session on within 15 days of the confirmation of the results. This means that the coalitions have 13 days from today to create the biggest bloc which will decide who will be President, Speaker of the Parliament and Prime Minister.