On 23 June, 64 new Iraqi members of parliament were sworn in to replace all those who belonged to the coalition that was led by the influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
The alternate lawmakers — who each had the second highest number of votes in their respective districts — commenced duties in the Iraqi Parliament after the collective resignation of 73 legislators from the Sadrist Movement.
The remaining nine alternate lawmakers did not attend the session. Four of them belong to the Hoquq bloc, affiliated with the Kataib Hezbollah, and the others are independents.
Hoquq Movement issued a statement shortly before the parliament session, announcing they will not take the Sadrist seats and that they would resign in solidarity with the Sadrists.
According to Shafaq News, half of the parliament’s new lawmakers belong to the Coordination Framework (CF), which now has 130 seats.
The CF is an ad hoc group of Shia parties with close ties to the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), including the State of Law Coalition and the Fatah Alliance. These parties lost by a significant margin to the Sadrist bloc last year, with many alleging fraud in the results.
“Today, the first step has been completed, which is the replacement deputies taking the oath,” legislator Muhammad Saadoun Sayhod from the Rule of Law coalition declared.
“We will now start the process of electing the president and naming the prime minister from the CF,” he said, adding that he expected the formation of a new government to begin soon.
Earlier this month, and after failing for eight months to form a government, Al-Sadr asked lawmakers loyal to him to resign their seats in parliament. He then announced his departure from Iraqi politics.
Despite claims from major news outlets that say the deadlock was being fueled by Iranian intervention, on 22 June Al-Sadr set the record straight by announcing that Tehran “does not meddle in the internal political affairs of Iraq” nor does it issue diktats to Shia Muslim political parties in the country.
Al-Sadr added that the nature of Iran-Iraq relations is based on mutual respect for sovereignty.