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Political Alliances Shift in Baghdad

An Iraqi alliance bringing together Sunni and Shiite parties has succeeded in forming the local government in Baghdad without the participation of the prime minister's State of Law Coalition.
Residents gather at the premises of a coffee shop that was destroyed in a suicide bomb attack the night before, in Baghdad June 17, 2013. Five people were killed and 20 were wounded in the attack, police said.                   REUTERS/Saad Shalash (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTX10QGM
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An alliance combining Shiite and Sunni currents in Baghdad succeeded last Saturday, June 15, in forming a local government without the participation of the State of Law Coalition. The latter was the largest winning bloc in the local elections held this past April. This step represents a development that will have major implications on the course of the political conflict in Iraq and the general election scheduled for 2014.

Despite the success of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law Coalition in obtaining 20 of 58 seats in Baghdad, the Al-Ahrar bloc, led by Muqtada al-Sadr, won 11 seats; the Sunni Mutahidoun block, led by Osama al-Nujaifi, obtained seven seats; the Citizen bloc obtained six seats and around 14 seats were distributed over other blocs and minority quotas. The way the seats were distributed allowed these forces to come together and form a government that excluded the biggest winner in the elections.

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