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Iraq: Sadrist movement rejects national dialogue outcomes

August 19, 2022 at 10:15 am

Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr holds a press conference in Najaf, Iraq on 18 November 2021 [Karar Essa/Anadolu Agency]

The Sadrist movement in Iraq has rejected the outcomes of the national dialogue meeting held on Wednesday at the invitation of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi in search of a solution to end the country’s political deadlock.

Salih Muhammad Al-Iraqi, who is close to the leader of the Sadrist movement Muqtada Al-Sadr, said the outcomes of the national dialogue meeting were “useless” and accused most of the attendees of seeking to stay in power.

Al-Iraqi added, “This secret meeting of yours does not concern us with anything” and “the people only want people like you to step down.”

Wednesday’s national dialogue meeting was attended by Al-Kadhimi, the Iraqi president, house speaker and the Supreme Judiciary as well as the United Nations envoy to Iraq, Jeanine Plasschaert.

The meeting’s outcomes included five points, most notably: calling on the Sadrist movement to engage in dialogue to set mechanisms for a comprehensive solution, agreeing to continue dialogue to develop a legal and constitutional road map to address the current crisis, and stopping all forms of field, media or political escalation.

Meanwhile, the National Coalition, headed by Iyad Allawi, expressed “regret” on Thursday that the coalition and other political forces had been excluded from the national dialogue meeting.

READ: Iraq holds dialogue to end political impasse amid Sadr’s boycott

“The meeting excluded the majority of the national political, social and professional parties and representatives of the demonstrations,” the coalition said in a statement.

Tensions have flared in Iraq in recent days following the nomination of Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani as the new prime minister by the Coordination Framework, a coalition of groups close to Iran.

The move triggered mass protests from Al-Sadr’s supporters, who called for the dissolution of parliament and early elections.

This comes after 73 lawmakers from Al-Sadr’s movement resigned from the 329-seat parliament in June after it failed to form a “national majority” government, as the Coordination Framework hampered the Cabinet formation.

Iraq has been in a political deadlock for nine months following general elections last October, in which Al-sadr’s party won a majority, but has since failed to agree on a new government between rival parties.