Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (R) pictured with cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in Najaf in 2015. File photo: Haidar Hamdani/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has congratulated Muqtada al-Sadr for his election victory, Sadr’s office stated.
Abadi called Sadr on Tuesday “congratulating his Eminence on conducting the electoral process in a secure, democratic atmosphere and the Sayirun national alliance winning first place among the electoral lists,” read a statement on Sadr’s website.
Sadr has emerged as the surprise victor in Iraq’s parliamentary elections, with his Sayirun alliance with the Communist Party beating out the ruling Dawa party which ran two campaigns – one headed by Abadi with his Nasr (Victory) alliance and the other headed by Nouri al-Maliki.
Sadr described the electoral victory as “an achievement for the Iraqi people and its national entitlement first and foremost,” the statement added.
Abadi’s office has not immediately commented on the phone call.
Expectations are that Abadi may retain the post of the prime minister, but with much reduced influence.
Under the Iraqi constitution, after the final election results are released, the president gives 15 days for the newly elected parliament to hold its first session. The oldest MP will preside over the session where the speaker and deputy will be chosen.
Then the new parliament will elect a new president within three days. The new president will recommend the largest bloc in the parliament form the cabinet. If that bloc fails, another bloc will be recommended to form the government, this time within 15 days.