The Shiite pro-Iran Coordination Framework in Iraq was on the verge of announcing a new alliance that would be tasked with forming a new government.
Prominent Shiite leaders, however, called for suspending the announcement until it is certain that Sadrist movement leader, Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, and members of the October protest movement would not oppose it.
The “management of the state” alliance would include the Framework, Sunni Sovereignty and Azm alliances and Kurdish Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, comprising around 273 lawmakers.
Former Prime Minister and longtime Sadr rival, Nouri al-Maliki has been the most eager member of the Framework to unveil the alliance, but sources said that “the emergence of fundamental objections by Shiite leaders” has put the announcement on hold.
Three main objections have emerged and were the subject of hours of discussions by Framework members, who are under immense pressure from the Sadr and the protest movement.
The first objection came from Hadi al-Ameri, leader of the Badr Organization, who called for putting the announcement of the alliance on hold until guarantees are obtained from Sadr. The guarantees can only be secured by meeting with the cleric.
The objection did not sit well with Maliki, who has been urging his colleagues to “overcome their fear of the Sadrist movement.”
The second objection came from head of the Hikma movement, Ammar al-Hakim, who supports the formation of a government of independent figures and representatives of the protest movement.
The third objection was voiced by former Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, who has called for the Framework’s withdrawal of Mohammed Shia al-Sudani's nomination as prime minister.
The nomination had sparked street protests by Sadrists that in turn led to clashes with the Framework that put Iraq on the brink of conflict. Insisting on his nomination would risk enflaming tensions with Sadr.
Figures close to Abadi said these objections forced the Framework to delay the announcement of the new alliance.
Meanwhile, on the ground, hundreds of elite members of the armed factions have redeployed in Baghdad’s Green Zone as the October protest movement prepares to commemorate the third anniversary of their anti-government demonstrations.
The “management of the state” alliance not only excludes Sadr, whose 73 MPs resigned from parliament earlier this year in protest against the ongoing political stalemate, but Turkmen figures as well.
Turkmen officials expressed their disappointment at the exclusion, noting that the group is the third largest in Iraq after Arabs and Kurds.
With 273 MPs, the new alliance would be able to elect a new president and designate a new prime minister to form a government. A president is elected with 220 votes and a PM is designated with a half plus one majority.
Sadr has yet to comment on the would-be alliance that includes his former Sunni and Kurdish allies.