Political crisis in Iraq: Protesters briefly occupy parliament

Political crisis in Iraq: protesters briefly occupy parliament

The partisans of Moqtada Sadr, inside the Iraqi parliament

Supporters of the influential Shiite leader Moqtada Sadr briefly invaded parliament on Wednesday by entering the ultra-secure green zone housing government institutions and embassies in Baghdad, a new outburst to denounce the candidacy for the post of prime minister. minister presented by the opposing political camp.

Nearly two hours after taking up residence in parliament, the hundreds of demonstrators began a withdrawal, noted a correspondent for the ;AFP, obeying the instructions launched shortly before on Twitter by the kingmaker Moqtada Sadr, a key player on the Shiite political scene.

The political stalemate is total in Iraq, 10 months after the legislative elections of October 2021. Negotiations to form a new government are at a standstill, against a backdrop of behind-the-scenes bargaining and virulent quarrels between the political barons who dominate public life since the fall of President Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Late Wednesday afternoon, once they entered the green zone, hundreds of demonstrators headed for parliament, which they took over despite police tear gas fire, the city said. AFP a security source.

The protesters occupied the hall and the hemicycle, waving Iraqi flags and applauding, reported a correspondent for the AFP. AFP on the spot.

We reject the whole political process, castigated the demonstrator Bashar in the parliament building. We want an independent personality at the service of the people, he added.

The demonstrators denounce the candidacy for the post of prime minister of Mohamed Chia al-Soudani, a 52-year-old former minister and former provincial governor.

He is the candidate of the Coordination Framework , an alliance of pro-Iran Shiite factions comprising the formation of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and representatives of Hachd al-Chaabi, former paramilitaries integrated into the regular forces.

Revolution of reform and rejection of injustice and corruption, Mr. Sadr tweeted in support of the protesters.

Your message has been heard [.. .]. You terrorized the corrupt, he added, calling on protesters to say a prayer before returning home safe and sound.

We obey the Sayyed, protesters chanted by leaving the parliament in peace, in allusion to the title of descendant of the prophet which Mr. Sadr enjoys.

Adept at blows, Mr. Sadr had nevertheless abandoned the task of forming a government to his opponents, causing his 73 deputies to resign in June: they represented the first force in the Parliament of 329 deputies.

Mr. Sadr regularly reminds his opponents that he continues to enjoy a popular footing in the streets. By mid-July, he had mobilized hundreds of thousands of Iraqis for a collective Friday prayer in Baghdad.

The Coordination Framework meanwhile accused the government on Wednesday of appeasement of protesters, calling for firm measures to maintain security and order, and prevent chaos.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kazimi had called on protesters to immediately withdraw from the green zone, warning in a statement that law enforcement would ensure the protection of state institutions and foreign missions.

Before investing this district in the heart of Baghdad with guarded entrances, where journalists and visitors must have a badge to enter, the demonstrators gathered in a central square, brandishing Iraqi flags and portraits of Moqtada Sadr, and castigating the Coordination Framework candidate.

I am against the corrupt who are in power, launched the protester Mohamed Ali, 41-year-old daily worker. I am against Soudani's candidacy because he is a corrupt man who is part of Maliki's camp, he declared.

The political paralysis is total since, for 10 months, the country has been waiting not only for the appointment of a new Prime Minister, but also that of a President of the Republic.

This post traditionally goes to a Kurd, but on this issue there is also a blockage: the two major historical Kurdish parties have not managed to agree on a candidate.

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