Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced on Monday his definitive withdrawal from politics and the closure of all institutions affiliated with the “Sadrist movement,” a decision that has provoked protests by his followers in Baghdad.
“I have decided not to interfere in political affairs, so I now announce the final withdrawal and closure of all institutions except the Holy Shrine, Al Sharif Museum and Al Sadr Heritage Authority,” he said on his Twitter profile. .
Subsequently, Al Sadr’s office has issued three decrees prohibiting “interfering in all political, government and media affairs”, as well as “raising slogans, flags and political chants”, or “using any means, including online platforms”. of social networks, in the name of the Sadrist movement”.
Iraqi security forces have asked protesters to immediately withdraw from the Green Zone, where most government buildings and diplomatic missions are located, after supporters of Al Sadr tried to reach the Republican Palace, according to the agency. of NINA news.
The Iraqi riot police have tried to disperse the crowd with water cannons and have decreed the closure of the area, assuring that they have a duty to “protect security and stability”, as reported by the Shafaq news portal.
Al Sadr, who had spent weeks mobilizing his hundreds of thousands of supporters in Baghdad to the point of having taken over Parliament twice, demanded the dissolution of the chamber and the declaration of new elections, aware of the support he enjoyed as leader of the formation with the most votes in the last October elections.
The great losers of the last elections, the pro-Iranian parties, as well as other rivals of the cleric, had asked Al Sadr to open the door to a concentration government, but the cleric instead asked for a majority government, proportional to the result of the elections.
In protest against the political blockade, the deputies in favor of Al Sadr withdrew from Parliament to leave their majority in the hands of the pro-Iranian parties, concentrated in the so-called Coordination Framework.
Iraq’s Supreme Court was scheduled to meet on Tuesday to decide whether it is competent to request the dissolution of the Iraqi Parliament, although the court has insisted from the outset that it is not competent to even rule on the dissolution as it violates the separation of powers. .
The last parliamentarians, of an anticipated nature, were convened after the serious political crisis in which the country was plunged after the massive mobilizations registered in 2019, which forced the resignation of the Government and the approval of new electoral legislation.
The protests, which broke out in October 2019 and resulted in more than 550 deaths –according to the official balance provided in July 2020–, were a new example of the population’s disenchantment with the political class in the face of numerous cases of corruption. , the poor state of public services and the prevailing economic crisis in Iraq.
Source: Europa Press