Iraqi Sunni secular leader announced on Monday that his political bloc has merged with the Independents bloc and will be represented in the parliament under the name "Arab Bloc For National Dialogue."
Salih al-Mutlak, head of the Iraqi National Dialogue Front (INDF), which holds 11 seats in the 275-seat parliament, has gained nine more seats after the Independents joined the new bloc.
"The goal behind merging the two blocs was to resist the sectarian project which aimed at dividing Iraq," Mutlak told Xinhua.
"This new bloc would be opened for others in the parliament and I anticipate that other MPs will join the bloc in the near future," he said.
The nine lawmakers of the Independents bloc were part of the third largest parliamentary bloc, the Iraqi Accordance Front (IAF), which is the major Sunni bloc in the parliament.