By Ibrahim Saleh
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s Victory Bloc reportedly reached an agreement on Friday to form the country’s next government.
According to a statement released by the bloc, the agreement includes Moqtada al-Sadr's Sairoon coalition (frontrunner in Iraq’s May 12 parliament polls), Ammar al-Hakim’s National Wisdom Movement and Iyad Allawi’s National Coalition.
In a statement, Khaled al-Obeidi, the Victory Bloc’s chief negotiator, said preliminary talks with the Wisdom Movement and the National Coalition had “led to positive results and common understandings, laying the groundwork for a viable government program”.
“We are now in close agreement with Sairoon, Wisdom and the National Coalition, and have also forged understandings with the Kurdistan Democratic Party,” al-Obeidi added.
On Thursday, Iraq's official electoral commission announced that a manual recount of the May 12 poll results were more or less the same as the initial electronic vote count.
According to the commission, only one seat from Iraq’s Baghdad Coalition had moved to the Al-Fatih Bloc, which is part of a Hashd al-Shaabi-led coalition (giving the latter 48 -- instead of 47 -- assembly seats).
For the last two months, results of the poll had remained the subject of bitter dispute amid widespread allegations of vote-rigging.
According to those initial results, al-Sadr's Sairoon coalition clinched 54 seats, followed by Al-Fatih (47 seats) and al-Abadi's Victory Bloc (42 seats).
Once Iraq’s Federal Court approves the results of the manual recount, incoming MPs will hold a first session to elect a new assembly speaker.
Within 30 days of that first session, the assembly will elect -- by a two-thirds majority -- the country’s next president.
The president will then task the largest bloc in parliament with drawing up a government, which must be referred back to parliament for approval.