News ID: 322291
Published: 0331 GMT June 14, 2022

Sadrist movement seeking early elections

Sadrist movement seeking early elections
Mojtaba Ferdowsi-Pour

Mojtaba Ferdowsi-Pour, Middle East expert

In the latest development pertaining to the ongoing political deadlock in Iraq, lawmakers of Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc in the Iraqi parliament have resigned, and their resignation was accepted by the speaker of Parliament. During the nine months that have passed since the parliamentary elections were held, the process of forming a government and selecting a president has been repeatedly postponed as a result of disputes between various blocs, namely, the Shia Coordination Framework and Sadr’s bloc.

Three scenarios can be envisaged for how al-Sadr’s bloc may proceed. First, since the lawmakers faithful to al-Sadr were unable to handpick their preferred prime minister, they will seek to force the government to call an early election, which would take about one year. This requires the Parliament to be dissolved.

The second scenario assumes that the Sadrist movement will turn to street demonstrations and protests in Iraq to practically confront different blocs, especially the other Shia bloc, and pressure the government to call an early election.

The third likely scenario supposes that the Sadrist movement is saber-rattling and will return to Parliament with more power. It is predicted that the Sadrist lawmakers will retract their resignations if they can bring a few non-Sadrist lawmakers to their side and raise the number of their parliamentary seats to 165 seats so as to be able to select a prime minister.

To overcome the existing crisis, Iraq needs a majority bloc in its parliament or at least a coalition between Shia blocs. Should these fail to occur, the political crisis will persist because neither the political consultations nor the advice of the highest religious authority has made any headway. Furthermore, the rival bloc, namely, Iraq’s Coordination Framework, is not weak and will not give up easily. If early elections are held, they would be prepared to address and plan.

Thus, it is of utmost importance for Iraq that its Shia groups become unified and, subsequently, become able to resolve disputes through dialogue and prevent further tension. Following the events of 2003, and during multiple election races, disputes between Shia groups have increased. If they desire to maintain their position in Iraq, they should adjust some of their positions. Shia groups must be wary that some domestic and foreign groups are attempting to force Iraq to normalize its relations with Israel.



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