Iraqi Shi’ite cleric backs al-Maliki: Aides

Muqtada al-Sadr`s powerful political bloc will now back Iraqi PM.

Baghdad: Aides to Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr say his powerful political bloc has agreed to support the Iraqi Prime Minister`s bid to stay in power and end a nearly seven-month political impasse.

The backing of al-Sadr would push the Shi’ite-led coalition of Nouri al-Maliki close to the needed parliamentary majority to form a new government. Iraq has been in political limbo since March elections, won by a Sunni-backed bloc but without enough seats to oust al-Maliki.

The three aides to al-Sadr say the formal announcement is expected later Friday.

Al-Sadr leads an influential Shi’ite political group, but he has been in self-exile in Iran since 2007.

The aides spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to brief reporters.

Bureau Report

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