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Iraqi 'kingmakers' hold referendum on PM

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Iraqi 'kingmakers' hold referendum on PM


The Iraqi elections may be over, but for some the voting goes on – especially for the possible kingmakers in the forming of a new government.

Followers of the young Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are taking part in a referendum on who they will back as the next prime minister.

Their voice could be important, as Sadr supporters won 40 seats in parliament.

Hazem al-Arajee, an assistant of Moqtada al-Sadr, said: “This referendum expresses Iraqis’ opinion. Iraqis went to the polls to vote, but this election was a parliamentary election, and not a vote for the prime minister. Also, the candidates represented their own provinces, therefore, we need to know the opinion of the Iraqi people because the referendum is for people right across Iraq.”

Former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi’s Iraqiya coalition won the most votes in the recent elections, and is trying to form a coalition.

But the alliance of incumbent prime minister Nouri al-Maliki came a close second in the ballot, and he too is attempting to form a coaltion.

One party that Maliki is said to be negotiating with is the Iraqi National Alliance, which includes the anti-American cleric Sadr.

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