Shiite leader Sadr says supporters' protests meant to help reforms

Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr says demonstrations meant to push government to make reforms

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

The influential cleric Muqtada al-Sadr often preaches to his many followers in Iraq

Prominent Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al Sadr said on Monday supporters’ street demonstrations around Iraq would force Iraqi government to make reform.

Last Friday, Sadr called for a demonstration and nearly 200,000 his supporters rallied in central Baghdad, demanding reform, better services and struggle with corruption.

"The demonstrations are in support of the prime minister to carry out comprehensive reforms and to form an independent government of technocrats," Sadr said in a statement.

Sadr warned Iraqi prime minister and said, "Abadi should use them in his favour before they turn against him."

Prime Minister Haider al Abadi promised reforms over political and economic fields last summer following several broad participation street protests but quickly ran into legal hurdles.

Senior Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al Sadr, left, shakes hands with Prime Minister Haider al Abadi during a visit in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq, November 7, 2015. (Reuters Archive)

Presently, Iraq has three vice presidents, two of whom are Shiites and one Sunni. The country likewise has three deputy prime ministers - a Shiite, a Sunni and a Kurd.

Iraqi's current system shares out positions according to ethnic and sectarian lines. These patronage systems are accused of creating corruption in the country.

According to the Iraqi constitution, the Iraqi prime minister has the power to dismiss ministers with the consent of the parliament.

On Sunday, Iraqi state television reported Sadr and other leaders of the National Alliance voiced support for Abadi's plans at a summit with Iraqi prime minister in Kerbala, southern Baghdad.

However, Sadr had not agreed on a meeting with Abadi, Dubai-based Al Hadath TV said on Monday.

TRTWorld and agencies