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Iraqi Shia leader Sadr is calling for new elections

#Iraqi #Shia #leader #Sadr #calling #elections

Powerful Shiite leader Moqtada Sadr, whose bloc won the most seats in Iraq’s elections last year, called on Wednesday for the dissolution of parliament and the calling of new elections.

In the recent political unrest hitting the oil-rich but war-torn country, Sadr called for a “revolutionary and peaceful process, then early democratic elections after a dissolution of parliament.”

Almost 10 months after the last elections, the country still has no government and no new prime minister or president after repeated infighting between factions over forming a coalition.

Sadr, who once led an anti-US militia and has millions of devoted supporters, noted in a televised address that he also has “no interest” in negotiations with his rivals.

“Don’t believe the rumors that I don’t want dialogue,” Sadr said on Wednesday.

“But we have already tried and experienced dialogue with them,” he added. “It has brought us and the nation nothing – only ruin and corruption.”

He delivered his speech as his supporters occupied parliament for the fifth straight day in protest at a rival Shia faction’s nomination for prime minister, the Iran-backed coordination framework.

Sadr supporters have set up a camp with tents and food stalls around the parliament.

Outgoing Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi has called for a “national dialogue” to bring all sides together to talk, and on Wednesday he spoke to President Barham Saleh.

According to the Iraqi news agency, both men stressed the importance of “guaranteeing security and stability” in the country.

Earlier Wednesday, the United Nations mission in Iraq urged leaders to put their country first and end the long-running power struggle.

“A meaningful dialogue between all Iraqi parties is now more urgent than ever, as recent events have demonstrated the rapid risk of escalation in this tense political climate,” the UN mission warned.

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#Iraqi #Shia #leader #Sadr #calling #elections

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