June 23, 2018 / 6:45 PM / 5 months ago

Iraqi PM Abadi and cleric Sadr enter into political alliance

FILE PHOTO: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi speaks during the Tokyo Conference on Supporting Job Creation and Vocational Training to Facilitate Weapons Reduction for Iraqi Society in Tokyo, Japan, April 5, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said on Saturday that their political blocs, which came in third and first place in a May parliamentary election respectively, would enter into an alliance.

The alliance between Abadi’s third-placed Victory Alliance and Sadr’s Saeroon which won the largest number of seats would cross sectarian and ethnic divisions, the leaders said at a news conference in the Shi’ite holy city of Najaf where Sadr lives.

Earlier in June, Sadr and second-placed Hadi al-Amiri, a Shi’ite militia commander with close ties to Iran, had announced an alliance between their blocs. It was not immediately clear if Saturday’s announcement meant the top three blocs had now entered into one larger alliance.

Reporting by Ahmed Saeed; writing by Ahmed Aboulenein; editing by Raya Jalabi

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