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NAJAF: The winner of Iraq’s October parliamentary election, Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr, met on Wednesday with rivals from the pro-Iran Hashed al-Shaabi former paramilitary alliance ahead of the opening of parliament.

The October 10 vote was rejected by the Fatah (Conquest) Alliance, the political arm of the pro-Tehran Hashed, but Iraq’s top court on Monday dismissed their allegations of voter fraud and ratified the results.

It paves the way for parliament to meet and elect a president — who will then name a prime minister tasked with forming a new government.

In multi-confessional and multi-ethnic Iraq, the formation of governments has involved complex negotiations ever since the 2003 US-led invasion toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.

On Wednesday, leaders including Fatah Alliance chief Hadi al-Ameri, senior Hashed official Faleh al-Fayyad and Qais al-Khazali, head of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq force — a key component of the Hashed — were hosted by Sadr at his home in the Iraqi shrine city of Najaf, according to state news agency INA.

The leaders discussed “the political situation” and the “formation of the next government”, INA reported.

Sadr, a political maverick and former anti-US militia leader who opposes all foreign interference, had already met leaders from pro-Iran parties earlier this month.

Iraq is trying to recover from years of war and jihadist violence but remains hobbled by political divisions, corruption and poverty.

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