KDP, PUK joint delegation meets Coordination Framework in Baghdad

A joint delegation from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) met with Coordination Framework officials in Baghdad on Saturday, one day before the new parliament held its first session.

The delegation led by Imad Ahmed arrived in Baghdad on Friday to discuss the formation of a new government with the Iraqi parties.

It held its first meeting with the Sadrist Movement. It also met with Sunni parties led by Mohammed al-Halbousi and Khamis al-Khanjar as well as al-Fateh alliance led by Hadi al-Amiri.

On Saturday, the KDP and PUK officials met with a delegation from the Coordination Framework at the office of State of Law’s leader Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad, according to Hisham al-Rukabi, head of Makili’s press office.

Amiri also attended the meeting.

The Coordination Framework includes State of Law Alliance, al-Fateh Alliance, Ata Movement, National Forces Alliance, Haquq Movement and Fadhila party.

On Friday, the Coordination Framework called on the Sadrist Movement led by Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to form the largest parliamentary bloc.

On December 30, Iraqi President Barham Salih issued a decree that convenes new parliament for January 9, following the approval of final results by the federal court.

Lawmakers will elect a parliamentary speaker and two deputies in their first session. They will later elect a new president who will task the leader of the largest bloc to form a government as prime minister.

The main winner of the election was Sadr, a populist who has positioned himself as a staunch opponent of both Iran and the United States.

Sadr’s bloc, already the biggest in the 329-seat parliament, will expand to 73 seats from 54.

Its main rivals for years, the al-Fateh bloc of factions linked to pro-Tehran militia, meanwhile, saw its parliamentary representation collapse to just 17 seats from 48. Former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law Alliance won 33 seats.

The Iraqi parties have yet to reach an agreement to form the largest bloc of parliament as no coalition won a majority during the elections.

The Coordination Framework and Sadrist Movement held several rounds of meeting in Najaf in the past weeks.

According to officials from both sides, the Sadrist Movement wanted a national majority government while the Coordination Framework preferred a consensus government.

“The only point of contention between al-Sadr and the coordination framework is that Sadr wants a majority government, but the Coordination Framework wants a consensus government,” Fazil al-Fatlawi, leader in al-Fateh Alliance, told Baghdad Today last week.

Last week, leader in the Coordination Framework Wail Rukabi said the group would form the largest parliamentary bloc if talks with Sadr failed.

“The Coordination Framework is the largest bloc with 90 seats and will form the government in the event that Sadr rejects a coalition with the group,” Baghdad Today quoted him as saying.

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