Iraq's Al Sadr urges judiciary to dissolve parliament by next week

The Shiite cleric is calling on judiciary to ask the Iraqi president to set a date for early elections

Supporters of Moqtada Al Sadr outside the Iraqi parliament. AFP
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Iraqi Shiite cleric and political leader Moqtada Al Sadr on Wednesday called on the country's judiciary to dissolve parliament by the end of next week.

“I address the competent judicial authorities, particularly the head of the Supreme Judicial Council, hopefully so they correct the path, especially after the constitutional deadlines for the parliament to select a president and task a prime minister have passed,” Mr Al Sadr said in a statement.

Mr Al Sadr also called on the judiciary to give the Iraqi president the task of setting a date for early elections that will be held “under a number of conditions we will announce later”.

“In the meantime, revolutionaries will continue in their sit-in … and they will have another stance if the people are disappointed again,” he said.

Unable to form a government, Iraq descended further into political chaos last week when thousands of Mr Al Sadr’s supporters stormed and occupied the parliament building.

Their sit-in continues outside the assembly, making it impossible for lawmakers to convene and raising the spectre of civil strife.

Despite Mr Al Sadr's request, the Judiciary Council and the Supreme Federal Court cannot dissolve the parliament.

Just two methods to dissolve parliament are mentioned in the constitution.

Article 64 says: “The Council of Representatives may be dissolved by an absolute majority of the number of its members upon the request of one-third of its members or by the prime minister with the consent of the president of the republic.”

With the caretaker government and the president not endorsed by the current parliament, the second option is not currently possible.

Updated: August 10, 2022, 2:55 PM