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Iraq: Shiite Factions Scramble to Win Parliamentary Majority After Withdrawal of Sadrist Movement

Iraq: Shiite Factions Scramble to Win Parliamentary Majority After Withdrawal of Sadrist Movement

Saturday, 31 July, 2021 - 09:00
Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on a billboard in Baghdad’s Sadr City district, June 21, 2021. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad

An announcement made by Moqtada al-Sadr that he won’t run in Iraq’s parliamentary elections has increased the chances of those seeking to postpone the early polls scheduled for Oct. 10 to their constitutional date in April 2022.

Sadr’s Sairoon bloc is the biggest in the Iraqi parliament with 54 out of 329 seats.

Several other prominent factions and parties have recently announced their rejection to run in the elections, including the Iraqi Communist Party, the Iraqi Forum Movement led by Ayad Allawi, the National Dialogue Front led by Saleh al-Mutlaq, the Iraqi Republican Gathering of Saad Asim al-Janabi, and others.

A well-informed Iraqi politician told Asharq Al-Awsat that the priority was now to hold the elections in October.

Setting this date was part of the commitment made by Prime Minister Mustafa to hold early elections, deal with the foreign presence in Iraq, reveal the killers of demonstrators during protests that erupted in 2019, as well as address the economic crisis and confronting the Covid-19 pandemic, said the politician.

The Iraqi premier has now set an early date for the elections, achieved progress in the assassinations case, and reached an agreement over the withdrawal of the US combat forces in Iraq by the end of the year.

While none of the Shiite factions and parties have announced their support or rejection of Sadr’s position, the surprise came from the leader of the State of Law Coalition, Nuri al-Maliki, Sadr’s most prominent opponent.

In a statement on Thursday, Maliki announced that the parliamentary elections would not be postponed and would take place on time. He also declared his rejection of an “emergency government because it means a rebellion against democracy and the principles of parliamentary transfer of power.”

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