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Iraq factions announce alliances to form new government

File photo shows Iraqis walking past a poster of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in Sadr City, east of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

Iraqi political factions, which did best in the country’s May parliamentary elections, announce separate alliances within the legislature, which they claim enables them to form the country’s new government.

On Sunday, lawmakers following senior cleric Muqtada Sadr and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s lead said they had created an alliance that would give them a majority bloc at the Parliament.

A rival grouping led by commander Hadi al-Amiri and former premier Nouri al-Maliki responded by saying it had formed its own alliance, asserting it featured the lion’s share of the seats at the legislature.

The 329-seat legislature is to come together on Monday to elect a speaker and launch the government formation process.

Sadr's Sairoon bloc came first in the polls, while the Fatah (Conquest) Alliance led by Amiri, and Abadi's Nasr finished second and third. A bloc led by Maliki ended in the fifth place.

A recount was called after the polls due to allegations of electoral fraud. The procedure delayed the process of government formation by three months, but confirmed the primary results with little change.

The Iraqi politics has long been vulnerable to the differences lying along the country’s major ethnic and sectarian fault lines.

Any new government has to move quickly to address the country’s chronic woes, including the poor quality of basic services as well as political and economic mismanagement. It would also have to face the mammoth task of rebuilding the country following three years of struggle against the Daesh Takfiri terror group.

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