Iraqi Sunnis form coalition to participate in government formation negotiations

The Taqaddum Coalition and Azm Alliance have agreed to unite heading into government formation negotiations following the October 10 elections in Iraq.

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Two of the biggest Sunni coalitions to come out of the October 10 Iraqi elections agreed to unite heading into government formation negotiations.

The Taqaddum Coalition, headed by Parliament Speaker Mohammad al-Halbousi and Azm Alliance, headed by Sunni leader Khamis Khanjar will form a “Sunni Coalition” according to a statement from the respective leaders.

The announcement came on December 14, which read: “the coalitions will participate in government formation negotiations with a joint committee.”

The Taqaddum Coalition had guaranteed the second most parliamentary seats with 37 after the final results of the October 10 general elections were announced by the Independent High Electoral Commission of Iraq.

Taqaddum trails only the Sadr Movement which secured 73 seats out of 329.

While the Azm Alliance had won only 14 seats, it managed to expand its coalition after the elections and increased its representation to 34 parliamentarians. A number of independents and minor parties joined the Azm Alliance after the elections.

Halbousi and Khanjar met numerous times prior to the formation of the joint coalition according to Yahya Mohammedawi, the spokesperson for the Taqaddum Coalition.

“We reached a consensus on matters such as the reconstruction of ISIS-held territory and the eventual return of internally displaced persons which we aim to present to our other partners,” he told.

The joint committee aims to “build a real national cooperation and partnership” he continued.

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