In a televised speech, Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr demanded the dissolution of the Iraqi Parliament and the holding of early legislative elections. While the country is paralyzed by political disputes, he considered that “there is no interest” in dialogue with his opponents.
In a context of total political paralysis, the powerful Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr demanded in a televised speech, on Wednesday, August 3, the dissolution of the Iraqi Parliament, as well as early legislative elections.
The dissolution of Parliament can only be done by an absolute majority of votes, according to the Iraqi Constitution. It can be requested by a third of the deputies, or by the Prime Minister with the agreement of the President of the Republic.
Tensions have risen in Iraq after Muqtada al-Sadr rejected a prime ministerial candidate put forward by his opponents, the pro-Iranian Shiite factions that make up the influential Framework of Coordination.
“I am sure that the majority of the population is exasperated by the ruling class as a whole, including some (politicians) belonging to my current,” acknowledged the Shiite leader in his speech broadcast on local television on Wednesday night.
“From now on, there will be no more former figures, whatever their affiliation,” he assured, proposing “a peaceful revolutionary democratic process, then early democratic elections after the dissolution of the current Parliament.”
This is the first public statement by the troublemaker in Iraqi political life since his supporters invaded the parliament building by the thousands on Saturday to set up a sit-in there.
Looking for a head of government
The Sadrista Current had won by far the last legislative elections in October 2021, with 73 elected in the Parliament of 329 deputies.
But in June, Muqtada al-Sadr caused a surprise by causing the resignation of his deputies, having failed with his allies to appoint a prime minister and form a “majority” government.
After this resignation, the opponents of the Coordination Framework became the main Shia bloc within the hemicycle. The alliance includes the former paramilitaries of Hachd al-Chaabi and the party of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a historical enemy of Muqtada al-Sadr. At the end of July, he presented the candidacy for the position of prime minister of Mohamed Chia al-Soudani, a 52-year-old former minister and former provincial governor.
Almost ten months of negotiations and political disputes between the parties have not allowed Iraq to appoint a new president of the Republic or a head of government.
Muqtada al-Sadr launched a maximum pressure campaign against his opponents and showed that he was still capable of mobilizing crowds to advance his pawns: twice in late July his supporters invaded Parliament, setting up a camp.
“The revolutionaries and demonstrators who participate in the sit-in must remain and continue their camp until their demands are met,” he insisted.
Repeated calls for dialogue
The Shiite leader’s speech comes at a time when calls for dialogue are increasing on the political stage.
“Serious dialogues that can give hope of resolving differences (…) begin with respect for constitutional institutions,” Nouri al-Maliki launched Wednesday night in a laconic tweet, referring to the occupation of Parliament. Because in an attempt to find a way out of the crisis, Prime Minister Moustafa Al-Kadhimi, who handles current affairs, had recently proposed a “national dialogue”.
The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) also called for “meaningful dialogue” between all parties, saying it was “more urgent than ever”.
French President Emmanuel Macron also spoke to Iraqi leaders on Tuesday to tell them “his concern about the situation in Iraq,” according to the Elysee. He said “his availability to contribute to dialogue and consultation” between the different parties, seeing in it “the only way that can help find a way out of the crisis.”
But dialogue is not on Muqtada al-Sadr’s agenda. “We have already tried and experienced dialogue with them, but it has not brought us or the nation anything, including ruin and corruption (…) despite their promises,” he lambasted. There is “no interest to be expected from such a dialogue.”
Source: France 24