The competition in Iraq over the position of next prime minister has been narrowed down to current PM Haidar al-Abadi, leader of the Victory alliance, and Hadi al-Ameri, leader of the Fateh alliance that came second in the May parliamentary elections, revealed an informed source said.Abadi is, however, facing competition from a fellow member of his alliance, Falih al-Fayyad, his national security advisor, it added on condition of anonymity.
Ameri, who appears to be the Fateh’s only candidate, is facing competition from his closest ally, the State of Law coalition that is leaning towards nominating Tareq Najim as premier, said the source.
The victor in the elections, the Sairoun alliance of Sadrist Movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr, has meanwhile, said that it will not focus on potential candidates for the position of prime minister, but rather on the ministerial program of the new government.
Since the election results were announced, political blocs have been exerting efforts to form the largest alliance in the new parliament. They have also been focusing on nominating a candidate for prime minister and forming a new cabinet.
The largest bloc will name the next premier, who will be tasked with forming a new government.
The race for the premiership between the Shiite Abadi and Ameri has left the door open for the Kurds and Sunnis to impose their own conditions to join either of the two alliance in order to form the largest bloc, continued the source.
The two alliances, for their part, have succeeded in driving a wedge in the Sunni and Kurdish ranks, both of which already suffer from clear divisions, it said.
Meanwhile, a statement released on Monday by a number of Victory alliance leaderships revealed sudden cracks in Abadi’s coalition.
The statement, issued a day after the coalition had met to reassert Abadi as its candidate for premier, was released by Fayyad, Khaled al-Obeidi and the Islamic party, all of whom are the PM’s most prominent allies.
The statement said: “Out of our keenness on the unity and sovereignty of Iraq and in compliance with popular demands for reform and the orders of the higher religious authority to form a new government, we believe that the blocs that enjoy the greatest representation should choose the next prime minister.”
It said that it will demand a meeting for the Victory coalition to discuss the issue.
A leading member of the Fateh coalition, Naeem al-Aboudi, said that the political blocs will intensify their efforts in the upcoming 48 hours to form the largest parliamentary bloc.
“Ameri is our only candidate for prime minister,” he stressed.
He also hoped that all five Shiite blocs, as well as the Sunni and Kurdish ones, must come together to the negotiations table to address these issues because “the situation is critical.”