Frustrated with his opponents in the Coordination Framework blocking his attempt to form a majority government Moqtada al-Sadr dropped out of Iraqi politics in June ordering his parliamentarians to resign. He then went to the streets and occupied the Green Zone in Baghdad. Now he is attempting to step back from the brink and calling for parliament to be dismissed and new elections held.
On August 3 Sadr gave a speech delivering his new demands to end Iraq’s political deadlock. He called for parliament to be dismissed and another round of voting to be held. Allies and members of the rival Coordination Framework voiced tentative support for his ideas. Speaker Mohammed al-Halbusi who is part of Sadr’s alliance as well as Hadi Amiri and Haidar al-Abadi of the Framework all said they were for elections. The Framework called for Sadr to respect Iraqi institutions meaning he should end his occupation of the Green Zone and allow parliament to meet. A member of Nuri al-Maliki’s State of Law also insisted that Mohammed al-Sudani remains the Framework’s candidate for prime minister. Al Mada reported that the Framework is trying to promote Amiri who Sadr might feel more susceptible to holding talks with while pushing Maliki to the background who is Sadr’s main opponent.
Elections could be a way to de-escalate tension in Iraq. When the Sadrists took the Green Zone there were worries that there would be armed clashes with the Framework but that was adverted. There are still fears that things could spiral out of control especially if Sadr continues to ratchet up pressure on the Framework by expanding protests for instance. His call for voting however shows that he too wants to rejoin talks. The problem is giving the current divisions agreeing upon elections could take months. They would also not end Iraq’s problems unless Sadr and his allies gained more than two-thirds of the seats in parliament. Otherwise things would be right back to where they are now.
Chalak, Chenar, “Top Coordination Framework figure supports Sadr’s call for new elections,” Rudaw, 8/4/22
Al Mada, “The Framework promotes Al-Amiri at the expense of Al-Maliki to entice Al-Sadr to negotiate,” 8/4/22
Al Masalah, “The Framework opens with conditions for early elections, and al-Sadr rises on an upcoming Friday,” 8/4/22
- “Al-Halbousi supports Al-Sadr’s call for early elections,” 8/5/22
NRT, “State Of Law Coalition Insists On Sudani As Candidate For Iraqi PM,” 8/4/22