Hundreds of thousands of Sadr supporters gathered for Friday prayers in Baghdad amid failed attempts to form a new government.
After the prayer, the leader of the Sadr movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, announced 11 conditions for the new cabinet signaling his approval for his opponents in the "Coordinating Framework" if they wanted to participate in the new formation.
The Iraqi security forces took unprecedented security measures in Baghdad, including closing the Green Zone.
Sheikh Mahmoud al-Jayashi delivered a speech on behalf of Sadr, announcing the 11 strict conditions set before his opponents if they wanted to form a government.
Political observers believe these conditions can act as restrictions on the formation of the government, saying that some may not be applicable for several reasons, while others increase the gap between the parties, explicitly asserting his condition to exclude Nouri al-Maliki from the lineup.
Sadr called on those "against the government formation" to ensure the exit of the rest of the occupation through diplomatic and parliamentary means. A position that seemed more flexible compared to that of the armed factions, which threatened to expel them by force.
The leader also called on the Shiite political blocs to punish the corrupt politicians, noting that the supreme religious authority in Najaf closed its doors to all politicians without exception, and this "is an insult to Shiite politicians in particular."
- Strong criticism of the forces affiliated with Iran
Sadr strongly criticized the militias and armed factions affiliated with Iran, saying that it is impossible to form a stable Iraqi government with the presence of "uncontrolled weapons and militias."
Sadr thanked the predominantly-Sunni western regions that were liberated from ISIS, saying that without the cooperation of their residents, "we would not have liberated the usurped lands."
In an apparent reference to Maliki, Sadr asserted: "We do not want to repeat the old tragedy" and the continuation of the people's suffering.
Independent Iraqi politician Ibrahim al-Sumaidaie believes that undoubtedly Sadr has his calculations that observers cannot expect.
Sumaidaie believes that Sadr's decision to withdraw his bloc from the parliament will undoubtedly have an impact on overcoming the sectarian and national quotas in the cabinet formation and the upcoming elections.
He told Asharq Al-Awsat that this would establish a government and opposition on a cross-component basis.
Sumaidaie added that the quotas were the main reason for the weak and corrupt governments that weakened the state and the nation and strengthened the division of its citizens.
Media professor at Ahl Al Bayt University, Ghaleb al-Daami, also confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that Sadr in his statement vetoed Maliki and all former politicians, including Haider al-Abadi, setting essential points in managing the next stage.
Daami said that Sadr focused on organizing the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), dissolving armed factions, and fighting corruption.
He pointed out that the massive turnout in Friday's rally is a crucial message to the political forces that his supporters are ready to protest against the government or in the Green Zone.
Sadr can topple the government if his demands are not met, according to Daami.