Al-Sadr to host the Coordination Framework leaders next week, source says

Al-Sadr to host the Coordination Framework leaders next week, source says

Shafaq News/ The leaders of the Coordination Framework and the leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, will resume the talks over the formation of the government next week, a source revealed on Sunday.

The source told Shafaq News Agency, "the leaders of the Framework will visit al-Sadr at his headquarters in Najaf on Tuesday to resume the dialogue and negotiations on the early election file."

The meeting, the source said, will discuss the mechanism of naming the next Prime Minister and the cabinet lineup.

Al-Sadr on Thursday called for the formation of a national majority government after meeting leaders of the Shiite forces consortium.

The populist cleric's political movement won 73 of the Parliament's 329 seats in Iraq's general elections in October. The country's election commission confirmed the results this week after a painstaking manual recount of hundreds of ballot boxes.

The victory puts him at the center of Iraq's lengthy government formation process.

"Neither eastern or western ... a national majority government," al-Sadr said on Twitter after meeting leaders of the Iraqi Coordination Framework, the umbrella group of Shiite parties contesting the election's results.

In his tweet, al-Sadr indicated that the next government will be free from foreign influence.

The cleric is a former leader of an anti-American armed group who has often surprised observers with his political manoeuvres.

He has long said that he is pushing to be in the majority government but not in a coalition with weaker parties. He believes that a coalition government has failed to serve the interests of Iraqis.

The meeting with Shiite leaders included former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki who heads the State of Law, paramilitary leader Hadi al-Amiri who leads al-Fatah alliance, and Shiite cleric Ammar al-Hakeem, and former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the chiefs of the State of Forces. It took place al-Ameri's residence may have been the first face-to-face meeting between al-Maliki and al-Sadr since 2006. 

A statement was issued at the end of the meeting that said the leaders discussed "outstanding issues ... to strengthen the bonds of unity and fraternity between the sons of the nation and to serve the interest of the Iraqi people".

Issues of discussion included combating corruption, the withdrawal of foreign troops, enhancing security around the country, and elevating the state's economic crisis, the statement said.

Iraq, an oil-rich country of 40 million people, is still recovering from years of conflict and turmoil.

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