Iraq: Al-Sadr demands dissolution of parliament, early vote
Iraq– Influential Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr demanded the dissolution of parliament and called for early elections on Wednesday. He also urged his supporters to continue their sit-in inside the national parliament in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, until his demands are met.
He said in a televised address from Najaf, a city in central Iraq, “Dissolve parliament and hold early elections.” He also said that he was ready to “be martyred” for his cause.
The political deadlock has already kept Iraq without an elected government for nearly 10 months. Iraq also has significant food security concerns due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and unemployment.
The political deadlock in Iraq
Thousands of supporters of al-Sadr stormed the parliament building in Baghdad on Saturday for the second time. They set up an encampment with tents and food stalls surrounding parliament. Over the past few days, the protestors have been continuing their sit-in inside the parliament building.
This move came in response to attempts by al-Sadr’s rivals, mainly the Iran-backed Coordination Framework, to form a government in the country with prime ministerial candidates, of whom al-Sadr does not approve.
Al-Sadr’s party was the biggest winner in last October’s general election. However, the party failed to form a government that would exclude his Iran-backed rivals. Al-Sadr’s bloc resigned en masse in June after al-Sadr asked them to step down because of the political dispute over the formation of a government. The resignations of al-Sadr’s bloc came after the Iran-aligned Shiite blocs opposed Sadr’s government formation initiative in Iraq. A political deadlock still persists over the establishment of a new government. Outgoing Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi spoke with President Barham Saleh on this matter.
Muqtada al-Sadr became popular for leading an insurgency against the United States forces after the 2003 invasion. He is an Iraqi Shia scholar, politician, militia leader, and leader of the Sadrist Movement.