Iraqi Sadrist politicians resign from parliament

Moqtada Al Sadr asked his bloc's politicians to quit on Thursday

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Sadrist bloc politicians in Iraq's Parliament resigned on Sunday after their leader, powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr, asked them to amid a prolonged stalemate over forming a government.

Mr Sadr's party was the biggest winner in the October general election, increasing the number of seats it held in Parliament to 73.

Political disagreements among parties have hindered the Parliament from electing a president and forming a government.

Mr Al Sadr's victory in the election had raised the possibility that he could sideline his Iranian-backed rivals who had dominated politics in Iraq for years.

"Sadr reached to the point that he accepted the bitter reality that it's nearly impossible to form a government away from the Iranian-backed groups," said Ali Moussawi, a former Shiite politician and a political researcher at Baghdad University.

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Even though his withdrawal is a setback, Mr Al Sadr, whose supporters fought US occupation forces, still has firepower with hundreds of thousands of followers who can stage protests, Mr Moussawi said.

Mr Al Sadr, a populist who is a staunch opponent of Iran and the US, said in a handwritten statement that his request for politicians to resign was "a sacrifice from me for the country and the people to rid them of the unknown destiny".

Soon after, the parliamentary Speaker, Mohammed Al Halbousi, accepted the resignations, which was shown in a video on Iraq's state news agency Ina.

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Updated: June 13, 2022, 9:17 AM