Iraqi PM announces coalition for May election

Iraqi PM announces coalition for May election

The alliance would aim to unify the country after a recent victory over "Islamic State" (IS) militants.

Mr Al Abadi reached an agreement with the Al Fatih coalition, a group of powerful Shiite militias led by Hadi Al Ameri, to jointly participate in the elections as The Victory Alliance.

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced a coalition called "Victory" for the elections scheduled on May, his office said on Saturday.

Abadi is credited for quickly rebuilding the army and defeating ISIL in its main Iraqi stronghold, Mosul, last July, with strong assistance from a US -led coalition.

"The cross-sectarian Victory Alliance will work for all Iraqis, enhance the country's unity and national sovereignty, rectify mistaken courses and achieve justice and equality among Iraqis in terms of rights and duties", al-Abadi said in a press statement.

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Both Mr Al Abadi and Mr Al Maliki are members of the Dawa party, however, Mr Al Maliki on Saturday announced that he would run separately at the head of his State of Law list.

He mentioned that members of the Dawa Party are free to support his State of Law Coalition or Abadi's Victory for Iraq Alliance. He is seen as al-Abadi's biggest challenger, and now holds the ceremonial title of vice-president. Maliki said on January 13 Dawa supporters will be free to choose between his alliance, called "state of law, " and Abadi's "victory alliance".

The prime minister had put forward the proposal for the formation of a big coalition of major Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish parties to make plans for the political future of Iraq.

Iraq's parliamentary election is scheduled to be held in May. Sunni leaders have called for the vote to be delayed in order to allow the more than 3 million people displaced by the fighting to return to their homes.

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