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Iraq’s political crisis: Sadr bloc resigns

An Iraqi passes by a poster of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in Sadr City in Baghdad on October 17, 2021, where the Sadrist movement have made remarkable progress. Led by the highly influential Sadr, the movement won 70 seats in parliament, according to preliminary electoral commission results. It has thus expanded its influence from 54 seats in the outgoing parliament, and is staking its claim as the largest bloc in the house. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)

The Sadr bloc has resigned to pave the way for another set of elections in Iraq. But what guarantee is there that history will not repeat itself with more political paralysis?

Iraq's Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi has accepted the mass resignation of lawmakers faithful to influential Shia cleric Moqtada Al Sadr.

The lawmakers resigned on Sunday In a move, ostensibly, designed to end eight months of political paralysis. The country's reform will only take place with a "national majority government".

If the survival of the Sadr block is an obstacle to the formation of the government, then all representatives of the block are ready to resign from parliament.

Iraqi lawmakers have already exceeded all deadlines for setting up a new government set down in the Constitution, prolonging the war scarred country's political crisis. The Sadr movement has formed an alliance with the Kurdistan Democratic Party led by Massoud Barzani and other parties to form a coalition.

Al Sadr requested his block to resign due to his inability to form a government. He was looking for a majority government rather than the more traditional Iraqi form of shared power and cooperation among several different groups.

He had allied with the Kurdistan Democratic Party.

The movement has, however, failed to find common ground with its rival, the Coordination Framework. The country has been without a government since the parliamentary elections in October.

Sadrists exceeded their fellow aspirants by winning as many as 73 seats in the contest. The seats are however, not enough to give them a mandate to break the impasse.

Sadr himself has said he would not team up with any of the bloc to form an alliance that could throw his support behind a new prime minister.

But there may be a significant shift in power as a result of the resignation of 73 members. The assembly consists of threaded train line members, and this was the largest block in the assembly; Sadrist movement.

So with their departure due to the resignations, the move to build a new and workable coalition or to effectively share power must begin again; how successful this new assembly will be, remains to be seen.

Robert Fantina, Author & Journalist

The Iraqi parliamentary elections were held on October 10th Last year, the fifth in Iraq since the US that invasion of the Arab country in 2003.

They were originally slated to be held in 2022. But the date was brought forward in the wake of a mass protest movement that broke out in 2019 calling for economic reforms, better public services and an effective fight against unemployment and corruption in state institutions.

The Fatah, or Conquest Alliance, the political arm of the popular mobilisation units, or the PMU resistance coalition managed to secure 17 seats compared to the 48 It's held in the outgoing parliament.

Former Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki and his State of Law Alliance won 33 seats while the Al Sadr Coalition, Fatah's biggest rival, won 73 seats compared to his previous 54 seats, making his party the first block in Parliament and thus giving him considerable influence in forming a government.

So while there's a method to deal with this, this large number of resignations, it still indicates that there are going to be significant problems in governing in the near term and in establishing a government for the longer term. So we will have to wait and see what the outcome is.

Robert Fantina, Author & Journalist

It was not immediately clear how the resignation of the biggest block in Parliament would play out.

There are already concerns the stalemate and tension could boil over and lead to street protests by supporters of Al Sadr devolving into violence between them and rival groups.

According to Iraqi laws if any seat in parliament becomes vacant, the candidate who obtains the second highest number of votes in the electoral district would replace them.


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