Sadr’s followers staged a long sit-in in Iraq’s parliament.

Supporters of Iraqi populist leader Moqtada al-Sadr gather during a sit-in at the parliament building amid the political crisis on July 31, 2022 in Baghdad, Iraq. – Reuters
  • In Baghdad’s Green Zone, thousands of clerical loyalists stormed the empty parliament building.
  • The Socialist Movement is demanding that parliament be dissolved, new elections be held and federal judges be replaced.
  • The stalemate is Iraq’s biggest crisis in years.

BAGHDAD: Supporters of Iraqi populist leader Muqtada al-Sadr pitched tents and prepared to stage a sit-in at Iraq’s parliament on Sunday, in a move that could prolong the political stalemate or plunge the country into fresh violence.

Thousands of clerics’ loyalists stormed Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone on Saturday to occupy the empty parliament building for the second time in a week as their rivals, most of them close to Iran, ousted the government. Try to make.

“We will remain there until our demands are met. And we have many demands,” said a member of the president’s political team. Reuters spoke by phone on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to make statements to the media.

The president’s socio-political Socialist Movement is demanding that parliament be dissolved and new elections be held and federal judges be replaced.

The Socialist Movement came first in the October elections as the largest party in parliament, with a quarter of its 329 members.

Iran-aligned parties suffered heavy losses in the election, except for former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is a staunch rival of Sadr.

The president failed to form a government independent of these parties, however, due to considerable opposition in parliament and federal court rulings preventing him from winning the election of president and prime minister.

He withdrew his lawmakers from parliament in protest and has since used his largely impoverished followers to agitate through street protests.

The stalemate marks Iraq’s biggest crisis in years. In 2017, Iraqi forces, combined with a US-led coalition and Iranian military support, defeated ISIS, which had taken over a third of Iraq.

Two years later, job- and service-starved Iraqis are taking to the streets to demand an end to corruption, new elections and the removal of all parties that have run the country since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein’s regime. come out

Hundreds of protesters were shot dead by government forces and militias.

The president is riding a wave of public opposition to his Iranian-backed rivals, saying they are corrupt and serve the interests of Tehran, not Baghdad.

However, Mehsab al-Alam retains a strong hold over large parts of the state, and its Sadrist movement has long run some of the most corrupt and dysfunctional government departments.