BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Eleven Iraqi political groups, including those led by cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, announced an alliance on Sunday that would be the largest bloc in the newly elected parliament.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi attends a meeting with officials in Baghdad, Iraq August 28, 2018. Iraqi Prime Minister Office/Handout via REUTERS

The alliance includes 162 lawmakers from eleven electoral lists, a document published by the state news agency showed. It is now in pole position to form the country’s next government.

Iraq’s parliament contains a total of 329 seats, meaning the alliance still needs three more lawmakers to achieve an outright majority. Parliament is set to convene for the first time on Monday, when it will elect a new speaker and launch the process of forming a government.

Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; editing by Andrew Roche

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