Nouri al-Maliki (L) shakes hands with Haider al-Abadi in 2014. Photo: AP/file
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Leaders of Iraq’s Dawa party met on Saturday in a bid to overcome internal strife and strengthen their position in the new government as it takes shape.
The leadership gathered in light of “the importance of the current political situation in Iraq and the need to preserve current constitutional entitlements, including the formation of the biggest parliamentary bloc to appoint prime minister and formation of a government that will respond to the demands of the people like services, security, and fighting corruption,” read a party statement.
The gathering brought together rivals Nouri al-Maliki and Haider al-Abadi.
The two ran separate campaigns in the May 12 election, stating at the time that they would reunite when it came time to form the government. However, they joined opposing camps in the new parliament.
Meeting on Saturday, they agreed on the necessity of overcoming their differences “and activating the national role of the party,” read the statement.
Abadi’s Nasr alliance joined with Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sayirun coalition while Maliki’s State of Law has united with Hashd al-Shaabi-tied Fatih. Both claimed to have the largest bloc in the parliament.
Dawa leaders talked about the importance of uniting the two halves of their party “as a step to have a mutual objective and agenda.”
No final reconciliation agreement has been announced yet, however.
The statement said both sides would keep the door open for working with other parties to form the next government.
Under Iraq’s unofficial power-sharing agreement, the post of the prime minister goes to a Shiite. Once a president is elected by the legislature, their first task is to request the largest bloc in the parliament to form the government.
Rumours are circulating about who the Shiite powerhouse may favour for the post of prime minister. Abadi’s name has come up as has that of Tariq Najm who served as a senior advisor to Abadi and chief of staff to Maliki during his tenure as prime minister.