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Iraqi cleric seeks to form national majority govt

Baghdad, Nov 19 (IANS) Iraq's prominent Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has set a roadmap for the country's political process, which includes the formation of a national majority government and the dissolution of uncontrolled armed groups.

Al-Sadr, whose party appeared as the frontrunner in the elections held on October 10, said at a televised press conference from the Shia holy city of Najaf that "the only option we have is either a national majority government or a national opposition (in Parliament)", reports Xinhua news agency

"The world witnessed the integrity of the elections, and your loss should not be a prelude to ending and ruining the democratic process in Iraq," al-Sadr addressed the losing political parties in the elections.

The cleric set several conditions in the roadmap, including "the parties wishing to participate in the government must hold their suspected corrupted people accountable", as well as eliminating the uncontrolled armed groups that must hand over their weapons to the Hashd Shaabi forces, which are under the supervision of the outgoing Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, also the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi forces.

He also stipulated that the parties "must severe all their foreign relations in a way that preserves Iraq's prestige and independence, and not interfere in the affairs of neighbouring countries to spare Iraq from useless wars".

Iraq held early parliamentary elections on October 10, which showed the Sadrist Movement, led by al-Sadr, took the lead with more than 70 seats, while the al-Fateh Coalition (Conquest), which includes some Shia militias of Hashd Shaabi, garnered only 17 seats compared with 47 seats in the 2018 parliamentary elections.