BAGHDAD, Aug. 26 (UPI) -- Backers of Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr said they would hold key government posts in the next Iraqi government should a new Shiite slate win in January elections.
Former Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari announced a new political coalition called the Iraqi National Alliance on Monday. The alliance includes members of the Shiite Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, members of the Sadrist Movement as well as Sunnis in the western province of Anbar.
Asmaa al-Mousawi, a high-ranking Sadrist, said in an interview with London's pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat that INA leaders had assured her Shiite party that its members would receive high-ranking positions if the slate scored well in the January elections.
"It is expected that some high-ranking positions will be obtained, depending upon (a candidates) competency," she said.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki led his State of Law coalition to victory in provincial elections in January over rivals supported by SIIC. INA did not include members of Maliki's Dawa, setting the stage for a possible showdown between the prime minister and the new Shiite coalition in national elections in January.
The Asharq al-Awsat report suggests INA will back Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi to challenge Maliki for the next Iraqi premier.