Iraq’s al-Sadr demands dissolution of parliament, early elections

by | Aug 3, 2022 | World

Iraq’s Muqtada al-Sadr orders supporters to continue sit-in inside the national parliament and calls for new elections to be held.Iraqi populist Muslim scholar Muqtada al-Sadr has urged his supporters to continue their sit-in inside the national parliament in Baghdad until his demands, which include the dissolution of parliament and early elections, are met.
The remarks, delivered by the Shia Muslim leader in a televised address from Najaf on Wednesday, could prolong a political deadlock that has kept Iraq without an elected government for nearly 10 months.
Thousands of al-Sadr’s followers stormed Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, which houses government buildings and foreign missions, last weekend and took over the empty parliament building staging a sit-in that is continuing.
Al-Sadr supporters have set up an encampment with tents and food stalls surrounding parliament.
Supporters of Iraqi populist leader Muqtada al-Sadr gather for a sit-in at the parliament building, amid political crisis in Baghdad, Iraq [Khalid Al-Mousily/Reuters]
The moves were a response to attempts by his Shia Muslim rivals, many of whom are close to Iran – mainly the Iran-backed Coordination Framework – to form a government with prime ministerial candidates of whom al-Sadr does not approve.
Sadr won the largest number of seats in parliament in an October election but failed to form a government that would exclude his Iran-backed rivals.
He withdrew his lawmakers from parliament and has instead applied pressure through protests and the parliament sit-in, drawing on his popular base of millions of working-class Shia Iraqis.
Al-Sadr reiterated during his address that he was ready to “be martyred” for his cause.
“Dissolve parliament and hold early elections,” al-Sadr said.
‘Don’t want dialogue’
Al-Sadr, who once led an …

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