Sadr, Hakim consider new Iraqi political alliance

Following Iraqi elections later this month, a new alliance might be formed to revive the Shiite National Alliance, provided that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki does not win a third term in office.

al-monitor Ammar al-Hakim (left) and Muqtada al-Sadr hold a news conference in Najaf, May 8, 2013. Photo by REUTERS/Haider Ala.

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state of law coalition, sadrist movement, nouri al-maliki, nechirvan barzani, muqtada al-sadr, massoud barzani, iraq, elections, ammar al-hakim

Apr 8, 2014

The Al-Ahrar bloc, which represents the Sadrist movement in Iraq, confirmed that it is discussing a potential alliance with the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), led by Ammar al-Hakim, to re-establish the Shiite National Alliance. This is provided that the alliance is not headed by the State of Law Coalition, led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and on condition that the latter does not assume a third term in office.

Adil Abdul-Mahdi, a leader of the ISCI, said that “the ruling party will not win in the elections regardless of the state resources it uses.”

Muqtada al-Sadr had hosted Hakim the day before yesterday [April 6], and made a phone call to the president of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Massoud Barzani, to discuss the elections.

Jawad al-Jubouri, spokesman for the Al-Ahrar bloc, told Al-Hayat, “The lines of communications between Sadr, Barzani and Hakim are designed to look into the developments in Iraq, especially in relation to the delay of the budget approval, the deteriorating security situation and the decline of the government's performance in general.” He said “the three leaders are trying to maintain the country’s security and safety during this critical transitional period.”

Regarding the alliances that are expected to be established following the elections, Jubouri said that his “bloc will revive the successful alliance with the Citizen’s Coalition (led by Hakim), which was approved following the local elections last year; it was a strong alliance that proved to be successful in a number of central and southern provinces.”

“We have a lot of things in common with the ISCI. We currently intend to preserve the [Shiite] National Alliance, provided that it is not led by the State of Law Coalition and that Maliki does not assume a third term, in order for the problems not to persist, especially problems with the Kurds and the western provinces,” he added.

“Our relationships with all parties are good, especially with the Kurds and the Mutahidoun Bloc (which is led by parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi), whereas the Maliki coalition has a feud with everyone. This makes the formation of the next government complex, if the cards of the National Alliance are not reshuffled,” Jubouri explained.

He said, “The current communications and meetings will save a lot of time and efforts after the elections, particularly since each party is able to anticipate its own size in the next parliament.”

The prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Nechirvan Barzani, talked about the third-term issue in a televised interview, saying, “We have no red lines. I do not imagine that it will be as easy as the last time, we had a difficult experience, which is why our calculations will be accurate.”

Abdul-Mahdi said, “The ruling party will not succeed regardless of the state resources it uses.”

“There were hopes to build a mature state that is based on the Constitution and institutions, protects the rights and freedoms of its citizens, reinforces the independence of the judiciary, and is far from any militarization. In short, [there were hopes] to get rid of a state where the people suffer and of a state that lives at the expense of the people, and to move toward a state based on the citizen and designed to serve the people and the homeland,” Abdul-Mahdi said in a statement.

“In its essence, the crisis driven by the elections is taking place between a party that desires the authority’s victory so that it can control the state and the people, and a party that wants the people, their genuine state and authority to win. Despite the overlapping fronts, intentions and their strict correlation that result in a blurred vision and prejudices, there are behaviors that tend to control, monopolize and use the state, the judiciary and the people as a personal tool at the expense of everything else, whereas other [behaviors] tend to build a state based on citizenship and the people. It is a conflict over approaches, ideas and vision, and hopefully, the people will employ them in the elections,” Abdul-Mahdi added.

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