Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr shows his ink-stained finger after casting his vote at a polling station during the parliamentary election in Najaf, Iraq May 12, 2018. REUTERS/Alaa al-Marjani
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A growing rivalry between two powerful Shiite 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.Sadr, meanwhile, says no one with a political affiliation should get the post.Iraq's return to deadlocked parliamentary politics, now involving Shiite factions rather than the Sunni-Shiite sectarianism that followed the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, prompted a plea last week from Iraq's most senior Shiite cleric for politicians to work together.Sadr Monday urged Abdul-Mahdi to present the rest of his Cabinet to Parliament for approval as soon as possible, without disputed candidates.The power struggle between Sadr and Amiri has removed the initiative from the prime minister's hands, and away from Parliament, analysts say.Without agreement from Sadr, however, the vote is unlikely to pass, putting further pressure on Abdel-Mahdi's crisis-hit government.Asadi said Sadr would give Abdul-Mahdi up to six months to form a full Cabinet before withdrawing support.
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