Iraqi PM Kadhimi meets Muqtada Sadr in Najaf
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi met with Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in Najaf on Monday.

Kadhimi, who visited Najaf on Monday, February 14, held a meeting with Sadr at the residence of the Shia cleric in Hanana city in Najaf, the political board of the Sadrist Movement said in a statement.

It didn’t provide further details, but reiterated Sadr’s call for a national majority government that is “neither eastern nor western”.

Kadhimi’s visit comes as Iraqi parties are negotiating the formation of a new Iraqi government.

The Sadrist Movement wants to form a national majority government while the Coordination Framework, including Iran-backed parties, prefers a consensus government.

No single party holds an outright majority, so the next leader will be voted in by whichever coalition can negotiate allies to become the biggest bloc — which then elects Iraq’s president, who then appoints a prime minister.

In previous parliaments, parties from Iraq’s Shia majority have struck compromise deals to work together and form a government, with an unofficial system whereby the prime minister is Shia, the president is a Kurd and the speaker of parliament is Sunni.

But Sadr, who once led an anti-U.S. militia and who opposes all foreign interference, has repeatedly said the next prime minister will be chosen by his movement.

Iraq normally enters months of political deadlock after each general election as the political elite jockey for spots in the new government. Iraqis are increasingly disillusioned with the political process, accusing almost all their politicians of corruption.

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