Iraq’s rival blocs take to streets amid political paralysis

Baghdad, Aug 12 (EFE).- Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Baghdad on Friday in response to calls by Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr and his political rival, the pro-Iranian alliance Framework for Coordination, who organized separate marches with the country paralyzed by political deadlock.

Al Sadr’s supporters gathered in the vicinity of the Iraqi parliament, which they occupied on July 30 for almost two weeks in protest against corruption and the political paralysis, and to prevent a plenary session to inaugurate the prime ministerial candidate of the Framework of Coordination, Mohamed Shia al Sudani, from going ahead.

During the march, the Sadrists renewed their demands to dissolve parliament and hold early elections, while reiterating that they will not lift the sit-in they have been staging since the beginning of the month in the fortified Green Zone, where most government buildings and the parliament are located.

Thousands of other demonstrators in favor of the Coordination Framework, an alliance of Shiite parties sympathetic to Iran, gathered simultaneously at the entrances to the Green Zone in support of the “preservation of the State” and against Al Sadr.

The demonstrators chanted slogans such as “No to chaos and no to the sabotage of the institutions” and “Iraq is for all and the Parliament for the Iraqis”, against the dissolution of the Chamber and the holding of new elections.

In a statement, the Framework of Coordination announced a sit-in to counteract the Sadrists’ and to demand that “the formation of a government be accelerated” and the resumption of parliament, among other demands.

Several Sadrist demonstrations also took place in nine provinces in central and southern Iraq, in response to their leader’s call for support from their cities for the sit-in in the Green Zone.

Tensions between Al Sadr and the Coordination Framework have intensified in the last month following the takeover of parliament by the cleric’s supporters and the exchange of accusations of who is responsible for the political deadlock, which has dragged on for 10 months since the October 2021 elections.

The stalemate has prevented the appointment of a president, the formation of a government or even the approval of the general budget, while the acting executive has had to urgently approve measures to cushion the impact of the severe economic and social crisis the country is going through. EFE


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