BAGHDAD, May 16 (Reuters) - Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani is holding talks with politicians in Baghdad to promote the formation of a new Iraqi cabinet which would have Iran's approval, two people familiar with the political process underway in Iraq said on Wednesday.
Soleimani, commander of foreign operations for Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, arrived in Iraq on Saturday, the day of the parliamentary election. Initial nationwide results showed a surprise victory for the bloc that supports populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, a Shi'ite not aligned with Iran who campaigned on a nationalist platform, tapping into public resentment against widespread corruption and huge social disparities.
Soleimani is holding talks with rival politicians to pave the way for an agreement to form a Shi'ite ruling coalition, said a person acting as an intermediary between Sadr, other senior politicians and a Shi'ite candidate.
Formal talks to set up a governing coalition will start after the announcement of the final results, expected later this week. Before the election, Iran publicly stated it would not allow Sadr's bloc - an unlikely alliance of Shi'tes, communists and other secular groups - to govern.
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