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Hundreds of supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr, one of Iraq’s leading Shiite clerics, stormed parliament in Baghdad. They disagree with a prime minister nominated by other Shiite parties.
There were no parliamentarians present at the time of the storm. So the security forces did not immediately intervene. Anti-Iran chants were chanted during the storm. Despite his Shiite background, Al-Sadr is not satisfied with the US and Iranian interference in Iraq.
The Iraqi parliament has been unable to agree on a new government, president, and prime minister for nearly 300 days. Elections were held in October of last year, and Sadr’s party became the largest. It won 74 of the 329 seats. When he failed to form a coalition with the Sunni and Kurdish parties, he withdrew his deputies from parliament last month.
Supporters of Shiite cleric al-Sadr storm Parliament in Baghdad
These seats have now been filled by rival Shiite parties, backed by Iran. Although his two deputies withdrew, al-Sadr said he would not oppose the formation of a government he did not want.
Initially, the Iranian-backed Shiite parties put Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister, much to the chagrin of al-Sadr. Al-Maliki had previously served as prime minister for eight years. Al-Sadr was accused in a tweet of corruption. Then Muhammad Shiaa al-Sudani introduced, but al-Sadr sees it as an extension of al-Maliki.
The Kurds are also quarreling
There is also no agreement yet on the president. Since the overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003, the prime minister has always been Shiite, the president Kurdish, and the speaker of parliament Sunni. But the Kurdish party that has provided the president since 2003 and the Kurdish party that got the most votes last year cannot agree on who should be president. Then the president ratifies the choice of the prime minister.
Foreign observers are concerned about the situation in Iraq, which is effectively mired in a permanent political crisis. In May, Dutch UN envoy Hennis Plasschaert warned that violent protests could break out in the streets, as they did in 2019.
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