Iranian-backed paramilitary leader Hadi al-Ameri withdraws candidacy for PM
Hadi al-Ameri, a leading figure in the Hashd al-Shaabi Iraqi paramilitary force, has withdrawn his candidacy for the post of prime mininster, easing the political crisis in tge country.
"I would like to announce to the dear Iraqi people the withdrawal of my candidacy for prime minister, to open the way for serious dialogue to elect a prime minister and his government according to the vision of the (Shia) supreme religious authority," he said in a news conference.
The move will simplify the task of forming a government in Iraq after months of political deadlock.
Ameri heads the Fatah Alliance, an electoral bloc which came in second in May's inconclusive national election. His coalition has been vying to build the largest political bloc in parliament so it could form a government, with him as prime minister.
His alliance includes groups tied to Iran-backed Shia militias who helped government forces defeat the Islamic State group, while his Badr Organisation controls the interior ministry. The alliance has been in talks with Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to form a new alliance in recent days according to Reuters.
The Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) auxiliary force was created by the government in 2014, after a call to jihad by the spiritual leader of the Shia community, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, to help in the fight against IS.
The force has been accused of committing serious human rights abuses after they recaptured Sunni-majority areas from IS.