He will accept premiership only if in national interests

Nouri Al-Maliki welcomes dialogue with Sadrists

BAGHDAD — Former prime minister and head of the State of Law Coalition (SLC) Nouri Al-Maliki has signaled his willingness to engage in dialogue with the Sadrist Movement, expressing openness to its potential reintegration into the political process.

In an interview with journalist Samer Jawad of Al-Sumaria TV, Al-Maliki stated, “I welcome a meeting with the Sadrist Movement. Though a direct meeting has not yet occurred, intermediaries sometimes engage with us to gauge our positions on various matters.”

Al-Maliki underscored the significance of the Sadrist Movement’s participation in governance, emphasizing that the absence of any bloc weakens both the political process and the government.

Al-Sadr’s list won the most seats in the last elections, but he ordered his MPs to withdraw from parliament after failing to form a government due to new changes imposed by the Federal Supreme Court regarding the majority needed to convene Parliament sessions to form a government. He also boycotted last year’s provincial council elections.

Al-Maliki’s remarks come against a backdrop of growing concerns within the Coordination Framework, of which Al-Maliki’s SLC is a part, regarding the intentions of influential cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr, particularly following his recent meeting with Shia Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

The Framework, a coalition of Shia political factions excluding the Sadrist Movement, includes groups known for their close ties to Iran and forms the core governing nucleus of Iraq’s government.

Al-Maliki also discussed prospects for amending the election law and addressed grievances about being held responsible for contentious issues such as early elections and the necessity for the resignation of executive officials before elections, seemingly referring to incumbent Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani.

He clarified that the issue of executive officials’ resignation “was brought up by someone else; it was not my initiative. However, I did not reject it and proposed that we address it within the Framework.”

The SLC leader emphasized his lack of ambition to reclaim the prime ministerial role, stating his willingness to accept it only if it were in the nation’s best interest.

Al-Maliki also critiqued the notion that infrastructure achievements should guarantee Al-Sudani a second term. “I, too, have achievements but did not secure a second term,” he said.

Concerns have arisen within the ranks of the Framework as sources indicate that Al-Sudani may be considering resigning from his position to contest the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for October 2025. With Al-Sudani’s considerable popularity, some Framework leaders fear that his potential success on a separate electoral ticket could disadvantage the Shia coalition.

On the subject of early elections and the multi-constituency system, Al-Maliki expressed readiness to align with the decisions of the Framework and other political forces, while highlighting the need for consensus and discussion within the Framework.

He added that “early elections might not yield better outcomes than the current ones. This matter has yet to be discussed within the Framework.”

Concerning federalism and disputes with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Al-Maliki highlighted ongoing discussions but pointed out challenges, including the need for ratification of an oil and gas law by the Iraqi Parliament and the regulation of arms under state control.

He dismissed assertions that the current government represents the last chance for Iraq’s Shia, asserting that opportunities and alliances among political blocs remain open.