Baghdad (Iraqinews.com) – The office of Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has refuted reports alleging that it received “an official invitation” from Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for a meeting to discuss the formation of the new government.
Diaa al-Asadi, the head of Sadr’s political bureau, stressed in a statement that “Al-Sadr’s Sairoon coalition did not receive any official invitation from Abadi to discuss the new cabinet lineup.”
Al-Asadi explained that Abadi’s call for all Iraqi political parties to convene following Eidul Fitr to discuss the formation of the new government came “via only media channels, not via official channels, such as a phone call or a written invitation.”
Al-Sadr’s Sairoon coalition won 54 parliamentary seats in the May 12 parliamentary polls, followed by a Hashd al-Shaabi-linked coalition (47 seats) and Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi’s Victory bloc (42 seats), according to the election commission.
The vote results, however, have aroused widespread fraud allegations.
Al-Sadr’s coalition did not win the majority needed to form a government alone but will play a primary role in selecting the next prime minister.
Al-Sadr said he hoped to establish a “technocrat” cabinet far removed from narrow sectarian biases.
Known for his hostile approach to the U.S., al-Sadr is one of few Shia leaders who don’t have close ties with Iran.