Iraqi PM conditions new term to ally with victorious rivals: MP

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Baghdad ( Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has set  the condition of maintaining his office before allying with rival blocs which came ahead in the recent parliamentary elections, a parliamentarian close to him said.

Almaalomah website quoted Jassem Mohamed Jaafar, an MP close to Abadi, saying that Abadi “fells optimistic regarding negotiations to form the next government”, adding that the outgoing premier “realizes that he is the most pivotal factor if he joins any bloc”.

According to Jaafar, none of the electoral lists can form the largest parliament bloc without joining [Abadi’s] al-Nasr, which had won 50 seats”.

Abadi said in a recent press briefing he was open to cooperation with other electoral blocs.

Abadi came third as per preliminary results of the elections held last Saturday. First came Saeroon list, sponsored by Shia leader, Muqtada al-Sadr, a populist seeking to break away from Iranian influence and scathingly opposed to foreign military presence in Iraq. Second came al-Fatah, an alliance of former leaders of the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces, the Shia-led troops that backed government forces campaign, under Abadi, to drive out Islamic State militants since 2014.

Jaafar said the outcome of negotiations will not be seen before the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, which begins Thursday at most Muslim countries.

Earlier on Wednesday, Sky News Arabia said Abadi did not attend meetings in Baghdad held by Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander, Qassem Suleimani, who reportedly arrived in the Iraqi capital to discuss the formation of the next government in a bid to ensure continued Iranian clout, especially with Sadr’s prominence in election having come as a surprise, according to observers.

According to the channel, the meetings were held two days earlier inside the heavily-fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, and was attended by former PM Nuri al-Maliki, an ardent Iran ally.

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