(Photo credit: AFP)
The leader of Iraq’s State of Law coalition and former prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, says that Iraq cannot chart a path out of its political deadlock unless Sadrists lift their siege of parliament and allow lawmakers to meet.
“No Parliament dissolving, no regime change, and no early elections unless the Parliament resumes its sessions; it is where we discuss these demands and decide what to proceed with,” Al-Maliki said on 8 August.
Supporters of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr stormed parliament on 30 July in protest against the possible nomination of Muhammad al-Sudani for prime minister.
Al-Sudani is a former cabinet minister with close ties to Al-Maliki, a rival of Al-Sadr.
The protesters occupied the building for several days. Despite vacating it, they remain camped out inside the heavily fortified Green Zone district of Baghdad.
“Iraq is a country of components. Its people are of different components, sects, and nationalities. Therefore, nothing can be done, except by the will of all the people, through its constitutional institutions, represented by the elected Parliament,” Al-Maliki added.
Last week, Al-Sadr called for the dissolution of parliament and a second round of early elections in the span of a year.
He also said he had not decided whether to participate in the elections, despite having announced his “retirement” from Iraqi politics last month.
Though he won by a landslide during last October’s elections, Al-Sadr failed multiple times to form a majority government without the involvement of the Coordination Framework (CF).
The CF is an ad-hoc group of parties that lost by a large margin to the Sadrist bloc last year. Since Al-Sadr asked his lawmakers to resign en-masse in June, the CF has been leading the talks to form a government.
However, these talks were derailed by Al-Sadr and his supporters, plunging Iraq deeper into political chaos.
On 9 August, Al-Sadr reiterated his refusal to work with the CF, tweeting: “I swear by god, the [corrupt] will not control us, a person like me would not pay allegiance to a person like [Al-Maliki], is there anyone to help us!?”.