Iraq’s outgoing Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi hinted at the possibility of accepting a “sovereign” portfolio in the government of his successor, Adil Abdul Mahdi, and announced his intention to restructure his parliamentary Nasr bloc.
Abadi did not take the oath as a deputy in parliament and as the leader of a bloc that won third place after Saeroon and Fatah before former national security adviser Faleh al-Fayyad leaves the Nasr bloc.
“Since the formation of the Nasr coalition, I declared that Nasr is a national project interested in citizenship, democracy, growth and healthy state-building in a manner that guarantees its unity, prosperity, and sovereignty, regardless of us winning or losing elections,” announced the statement from Abadi’s office late Thursday.
“Today, I renew my commitment to Nasr’s project as a basis that I will depend on and work for in Iraqi politics,” Abadi added.
Nasr will be “reproduced” to meet current and future political developments, he said.
Abadi insisted that he will not “retire from politics, regardless of any executive position,” hoping Nasr will remain intact to help build state institutions and fight corruption.
“I renew to you our faith and determination to continue with Nasr as a comprehensive constructive project that varies politically, socially, culturally, and in media,” he asserted.
Abadi denied that he had been offered any “ministerial position in the next line-up”, indicating that if he was offered a position that serves “our project and strengthens our position,” then he would accept it.
MP Nada Shaker Jawdat of Nasr coalition told Asharq Al-Awsat that Nasr project was highly welcomed by the Iraqi people during the parliamentary elections in May.
She explained that Abadi had been preoccupied with state matters and failed to heed the bloc, stressing, however, that in the coming period, “we will witness significant progress on this project, especially after the people’s confidence into it has grown.”
Asked whether Abadi could be assigned as vice president or foreign minister, Jawdat noted that the outgoing PM “has never expressed interest in any position and therefore, despite what is rumored, there is nothing official.”
On the other hand, Saeroon coalition, backed by leader of Sadrist movement Moqtada al-Sadr, considered Fatah and Hikma alliances’ decision to leave it up to the PM-designate to choose his ministers a “successful step”.
Saeroon spokesman Qahtan al-Jubouri told Asharq Al-Awsat that the alliance lauds such a decision.
Jubouri added that this reflects the keenness of the political blocs, which have taken such decisions, to ensure the success of the government.
Meanwhile, Abdul Mahdi is facing criticism following his intention to announce an “incomplete” government next Monday or Wednesday.
Former MP Salah al-Jubouri indicated that Abdul Mahdi should propose a complete cabinet rather than in stages.
MP Haidar al-Mulla of the National Dialogue Front said that the Binaa coalition is putting conditions on Abdul Mahdi to participate in the government.
Mullah hoped the PM will not succumb to political blackmailing. “We are sure that he will not yield in, however, if that happens, the Reform alliance will take a firm stance.”