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Iraq: Shiite leader al-Sadr calls for dissolution of parliament and elections

Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr called for the dissolution of Iraq’s parliament and early legislative elections in a televised speech. Although the country has been paralyzed by political disputes, he sees “no interest” in dialogue with his opponents.

Amid total political paralysis, powerful Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr called for the dissolution of Iraq’s parliament and early legislative elections in a televised address on Wednesday, Aug. 3.

Under the Iraqi constitution, parliament can only be dissolved by an absolute majority. It can be requested by one-third of the delegates, or by the Prime Minister with the consent of the President of the Republic.

Tensions in Iraq escalated after Muqtada al-Sadr rejected a prime minister candidate put forward by his opponents, the pro-Iranian Shiite faction that formed the influential coordination framework.

“I’m sure most people are angry with the entire ruling class, including some of my current (politicians),” the Shiite leader admitted in remarks broadcast on local television on Wednesday night. “From now on, there will be no previous figures, regardless of their affiliation,” he pledged, proposing “a peaceful revolutionary democratic process followed by democratic elections as soon as possible after the dissolution of the current parliament”.

It was the first public statement by a troublemaker in Iraqi political life as his supporters invaded thousands of parliamentary seats Saturday for a sit-in.

looking for head of government

Sadrism is currently winning the last legislative elections in October 2021, with 73 elected in a parliament of 329 representatives.

But in June, Moqtada al-Sadr came as a surprise when his deputy resigned after failing to work with allies to appoint a prime minister and form a “majority” government.

Following this resignation, opponents of the coordination framework became the main Shia group within the semicircle. The coalition includes the former paramilitary group of Hachd al-Chaabi and the party of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a historical enemy of Moqtada al-Sadr. In late July, she presented her candidacy for prime minister Mohamed Chia al-Soudani, 52, a former minister and former governor.

Nearly ten months of negotiations and political wrangling between the two sides have prevented Iraq from appointing a new president of the republic or head of government.

Moqtada al-Sadr launched a campaign to exert maximum pressure on his opponents and proved that he was still capable of mobilizing the masses to advance his pawn: at the end of July, his supporters twice invaded parliament to set up a camp.

“Revolutionaries and protesters participating in the sit-in must stay and continue their camps until the demands are fulfilled,” he insisted.

repeated calls for dialogue

The Shiite leader’s speech came amid growing calls for dialogue on the political scene.

“Serious dialogue (…) that can bring hope of resolving the dispute begins with respect for constitutional institutions,” Nouri al-Maliki launched Wednesday night in a terse tweet, referring to the occupation of parliament. Because in order to find a way out of the crisis, Prime Minister Mustafa Kadimi, who deals with current affairs, recently proposed a “national dialogue”.

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) also called for a “meaningful dialogue” among all parties, saying it was “more urgent than ever”.

French President Emmanuel Macron also spoke with Iraqi leaders on Tuesday, telling them of “his concerns about the situation in Iraq,” according to the Elysee. He “expressed his willingness to contribute to the dialogue and consultation between the parties”, which he believed was “helpful to find the only way out of the crisis”.

But dialogue is not on Moqtada al-Sadr’s agenda. “We have tried and gone through the dialogue with them, but it has brought us and the country nothing, not even destruction and corruption (…) despite their promises,” he berated. “Not interested in such conversations”.

with AFP


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