BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A growing rivalry between two powerful Shi’ite Muslim factions has paralyzed efforts to form a government in Iraq six months after an election aimed at steering the country toward recovery from years of war.
The two largest parliamentary groupings to emerge after the vote in May – one led by populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and the other by Iranian-backed militia leader Hadi al-Amiri – formed a tacit alliance in October when they picked a president and approved 14 out of 22 cabinet ministers.
But since then there has been stalemate, mainly over the empty interior ministry post dominated for years by allies of Amiri, who are backing the former head of a paramilitary force supported by Tehran. Sadr meanwhile says no one with a political affiliation should get the post.
A vote in parliament to fill the vacant ministries in Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s cabinet has been repeatedly put back.