Iraqi Shiite cleric and leader Moqtada al-Sadr inside a polling station in the central holy city of Najaf on May 12, 2018. Photo: Haidar Hamdani / AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose al-Sayirun coalition is emerging as the surprise winner of Iraq’s parliamentary election, appeared to call for the formation of a technocratic government in a pun-laden tweet on Monday.
In a clever play on words using the names of several parties and coalitions, Sadr seemed to call for a nonpartisan, cross-sectarian government.
“We are Sayirun (Marching) with Hikma (Wisdom) and Watanyah (Patriotism) so that the Iradah (Will) of the people be our aim and to build Jilan Jadidan (a New Generation) and to witness Taghir (Gorran/Change) to the better and for the Al-Qarar (Decision) to be Iraqi,” the tweet on his official account reads.
“So we raise the Bayariq (Banners) of Al-Nasr (Victory), and let Baghdad, the capital, be Hawiyatuna (Baghdad Is Our Identity) and for our Hirakuna (Movement) Democratic (possibly KDP) towards the formation of a paternal government from technocratic Kawadur (Cadres) without partisanship,” the tweet adds.
It is not clear whether Sadr deliberately omitted the PUK, the KIU, and Hashd al-Shaabi’s al-Fatih.
Al-Sayirun (Marching Towards Reform), is a coalition of Sadr’s supporters, some secularists, and the Iraqi Communist Party. According to preliminary election results, the alliance has won the most seats, followed by al-Fatih, pushing Haider al-Abadi’s Nasr (Victory) Alliance into third place.
Sadr has long called for a technocratic government in Iraq.
Some have interpreted Sadr’s tweet as a statement of intent to form a roughly cross-sectarian, all-inclusive coalition government.
The proponents of Shia majoritarianism – namely Abadi’s Nasr (Victory) Alliance and Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law of Coalition – performed poorly in Saturday’s election.