Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Sadrist Movement Participates in Next Elections with Independent List, 'Istiqamah'

Sadrist Movement Participates in Next Elections with Independent List, 'Istiqamah'

Wednesday, 20 December, 2017 - 06:15
Moqtada al-Sadr speaks during a news conference in the holy Shiite city of Najaf on April 30. Haidar Hamdani/AFP

Mystery prevailed Tuesday around the nature and form of alliances to be built among Iraqi political parties and blocs that decided to run in the upcoming parliamentary and provincial elections, scheduled for next May.

However, what remains certain now is the division of the “State of Law” coalition into two electoral lists: one headed by current head of the coalition Nouri al-Maliki and the second headed by his comrade in the Dawah party, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

The Sadrist Movement remained the only party with clear visions concerning the nature of its participation in the upcoming elections and the list of its favorite candidates.

A source close to the Movement told Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday that leader Muqtada al-Sadr is determined to run in the upcoming elections with a new political list, under the name of “Istiqamah.”

“The new composition represents almost a rupture with the previous political figures of the Sadrist Movement. Al-Sadr insisted that none of Al-Ahrar bloc members could join the list,” the source added.

In 2014, al-Sadr had banned turbaned religious men and merchants from participating in the 2014 elections.

The source said that the Sadrist Movement is currently making extensive contacts with civil, academic and media figures, and also with reputable tribal sheikhs to join the new list.

“Al-Sadr will run in the elections with one list, but could think of building a coalition with the other blocs after the elections,” the source said.

Last December, al-Sadr had sent a letter to all officials who had executive and legislative positions at his bloc and informed them about his decision to ban their participation in the upcoming elections.

Unlike the Sadrist Movement, all other parties and blocs in Iraq are still unclear about which political directions to take in May’s elections.

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