Huda Jassim (Baghdad)
Support increased for dissolving the Iraqi parliament and holding early elections, while tens of thousands of supporters of the “Sadr movement”, Muqtada al-Sadr participated in Friday prayers, yesterday, in the fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, in continuation of popular pressures in support of al-Sadr’s demand to dissolve parliament, and his opponents announced their openness to his request for a measure Early elections, but with conditions.
After they finished their prayers, which was called the “million-dollar prayer”, which was attended by thousands from different Iraqi provinces at Al-Sadr’s call, the demonstrators headed to the vicinity of the Iraqi parliament located in the Green Zone adjacent to the Tigris River, which includes government and diplomatic headquarters, where they have been camping for about a week after demonstrations to protest. On the name given by Sadr’s political opponents in the coordination framework, to the prime minister.
Last Wednesday, al-Sadr demanded the dissolution of parliament and the holding of early elections, less than a year after the elections in which he won the largest number of seats. In the coordination framework, his opponents expressed Thursday their openness to his call for new elections, indirectly stipulating the end of the sit-in and the evacuation of Parliament.
Tens of thousands participated in the Friday prayer, which was held in the celebration square located in the Green Zone, three weeks after a similar prayer was conducted in the popular neighborhood of Sadr City, east of the capital. Some of them took shelter under umbrellas from the scorching sun and the temperature exceeded 46 degrees Celsius, waving Iraqi flags, as they walked along a long path that leads to the square.
They chanted slogans: “Yes, yes to reform” and “No, no to corruption.”
Friday sermon, Muhannad al-Moussawi, said in his sermon to the worshipers: “We are from the Friday pulpit on this day, we announce our solidarity with Muqtada al-Sadr’s demands, which are to dissolve parliament and hold early elections.”
He considered that “Iraq is a prisoner of corruption and the corrupt,” denouncing the “clear deterioration in the areas of services, health and education” and “the arrival of large numbers below the poverty line in return for excessive enrichment at the expense of the people’s livelihood.”
For their part, experts and analysts told Al-Ittihad that holding the elections requires a new law, a new electoral commission, and constitutional procedures, stressing the need for dialogue in order to reach understandings that lead to political stability.
Political analyst and deputy head of the Political Decision Center, Haider al-Moussawi, said that “holding elections requires a new law, because when the Federal Court rejected the coordination framework’s lawsuit and ratified the results of the previous elections, it stipulated the adoption of a new law with manual counting and sorting in the upcoming elections.”
Al-Moussawi considered that this requires the formation of a government, not a caretaker government, adding in a statement to Al-Ittihad: “If everyone agrees to dissolve parliament and the elections, before that, a transitional government must be formed for a year, so that the law and the commission can be changed, and all agreements are settled, especially That Iraq needs a general budget, and the allocation of an amount of at least 400 billion dinars, to hold elections.”
He continued, “Even if they agree to hold elections, there must be dialogue and prior agreement, and there should be guarantees that the results will be accepted by all parties.”
Otherwise, he warned, Iraq would once again reach a dead end.
For his part, Adnan Al-Sarraj, head of the Iraqi Center for Media Development, said that “early elections are a solution, but when, where and how?”
As for the legal expert, Amir Al-Daami, he considered that there are long steps that separate Iraq from holding early elections. He said in a statement to Al-Ittihad, “The Sadrist movement wants to dissolve parliament, keep Mustafa Al-Kazemi’s government, and hold new elections, but the coordinating framework wants a new government.” He continued, “If they agree on a solution, this will be preceded by important steps, including the election of a president of the republic, who in turn assigns the parliamentary bloc’s most numerous candidate to form a government,” noting that these two positions are still a matter of dispute and disagreement between the political blocs.
In turn, Mazen Al-Shammari, head of the Solutions Center for Future Studies, stated that the constitutional dissolution of Parliament, according to Article 64, takes place in one of two ways, the first: a request from the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister, with the approval of a simple majority in the House of Representatives, and the second way is to submit a request by A number of representatives are required to dissolve the parliament, and in both cases it requires the approval of the House of Representatives, which cannot meet due to the sit-ins.
Al-Shammari, in a statement to Al-Ittihad, ruled out dissolving Parliament soon, stressing the need for the parties to sit around a national dialogue table and agree on the transitional phase after dissolving Parliament.
Iraq has been experiencing complete political paralysis since the legislative elections in October 2021, in light of the inability to elect a new president and form a new government. The previous early elections produced a parliament in which no party has an absolute majority, and the Sadr movement occupied 73 out of 329 seats.
It is customary in Iraq that the dominant parties on the political scene since 2003 reach an agreement among themselves on the name of a prime minister. This time, however, the political parties failed to achieve this after many months of negotiations.
The main difference between the two parties lies in the fact that the “Sadr movement” wanted a government of a “national majority” in alliance with the Sunnis and the Kurds, while its opponents, in the coordinating framework, wanted to maintain the consensual formula. Unable to achieve the majority government he wanted, al-Sadr began to put pressure on his rivals and left them the task of forming a government after his deputies resigned.
A UN call for dialogue
Al-Sadr met yesterday in Najaf with the head of the United Nations mission in Iraq, Jenin Plasshart. In a press conference after the meeting, Plasschaert said that she discussed “with Mr. Sadr the importance of finding a solution to the political crisis,” according to the Iraqi News Agency.
In a speech on Wednesday, al-Sadr called for early legislative elections, saying, “I am sure that most of the people are tired of the entire ruling class, including some belonging to the current.”
The head of the United Nations mission confirmed that the meeting with the leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, was good.
Plasschaert conducted several rounds of meetings with the political leaders in Baghdad and Erbil, to discuss the political crisis and stress the need for dialogue.
Plascharat’s last visit to Najaf was in December 2021, after the tension as a result of the announcement of the results of the October elections.
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