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Iraq's Sadr gives one-week deadline to judiciary to dissolve parliament

  • 10 Aug 2022

Iraq's prominent cleric Muqtada al Sadr has recently helped inflame tensions in the country by commanding thousands of followers to storm and occupy parliament, preventing the formation of a government.

Sadr blames Iran-aligned parties for the failed government formation and accuses them of corruption. ( AP Archive )

Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al Sadr has called on the country's judiciary to dissolve parliament by end of next week, threatening unspecific consequences if it does not do what he says.

The judiciary "must dissolve parliament by the end of next week... if not, the revolutionaries will take another stance," Sadr said in a statement on his Twitter account, without elaborating, on Wednesday.

The populist leader has helped inflame tensions in Iraq over the last two weeks by commanding thousands of followers to storm and occupy parliament, preventing the formation of a government.

His political opponents, mostly fellow Shias backed by Iran, have refused to accede to Sadr's demands, raising fears of fresh unrest and violence in a conflict-weary Iraq.

Sadr has called for early elections and unspecified changes to the constitution after withdrawing his lawmakers from parliament in June.

The withdrawal was a protest against his failure to form a government despite holding nearly a quarter of parliament and having enough allies to make up more than half the chamber.

READ MORE: Iraq's Sadr vows to continue parliament sit-in until demands met

Political deadlock

Nearly ten months after October elections, Iraq is still without a new government despite intense negotiations between factions.

In multi-confessional and multi-ethnic Iraq, government formation has involved complex negotiations since a 2003 US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein.

Sadr's bloc emerged from elections in October as the biggest parliamentary faction, but was still far short of a majority.

In June his 73 lawmakers quit in a bid to break a logjam over the establishment of a new government.

That led to a pro-Iran block becoming the largest in parliament, but still there was no agreement on naming a new prime minister, president or cabinet.

Sadr blames Iran-aligned parties for the failed government formation and accuses them of corruption, but his followers also control some of the worst-managed government departments.

READ MORE: Iraqi parliament sessions suspended due to storming by Sadr supporters

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