Aug 04, 2022 08:26 UTC
  • Sadr urges supporters to continue sit-in in Iraqi parliament

Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada Sadr has called on his supporters to continue a sit-in inside the parliament until his demands are met, days after they breached Baghdad's heavily fortified "green zone" and occupied the country's legislature.

Sadr made the plea in a televised address from Najaf on Wednesday, repeating his demands, which include the dissolution of the parliament and holding early elections.

He said he was ready to "be martyred" for his cause and that he had "no interest" in negotiating with his rivals. "Don't believe the rumors that I don't want dialog," Sadr said. "But we have already tried and experienced dialog with them. It has brought nothing to us and to the nation – only ruin and corruption."

Iraq has been grappling with a political crisis in the absence of a functional government since October last year, when the country held its last legislative elections. Sadr's political bloc emerged as the biggest parliamentary faction in those elections but fell short of an absolute majority needed to form a government, causing the country's longest post-election deadlock.

In June, all 73 legislators of the bloc quit their seats in a move seen as an attempt to pressure political rivals into expediting the formation of a government. Intense negotiations between rival factions, mainly the Sadrists and the so-called Coordination Framework, over the past several months have failed to bridge the divide.

Sadr's latest remarks could prolong the current political standoff over the formation of a new government.

MG

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