AMMAN: Iraq’s parliament will proceed with legal measures to replace Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr’s bloc in the legislature, parliamentary Speaker Mohammed Al-Halbousi said on Monday on a visit to Jordan.
The Sadrist bloc resigned en masse on Sunday after Al-Sadr asked them to step down amid a prolonged stalemate over forming a government.
Al-Sadr’s party was the biggest winner in last October’s general election, increasing the number of parliamentary seats it holds to 73 while Iran-backed parties suffered a heavy defeat. But political wrangling has prevented the parliament from electing a president and forming a government.
“If the survival of the Sadrist bloc is an obstacle to the formation of the government, then all representatives of the bloc are ready to resign from parliament,” the cleric said.
The resignation of his parliamentary bloc was “a sacrifice from me for the country and the people to rid them of the unknown destiny.”
At a press conference in Amman on Monday, Al-Halbousi said Al Sadr’s bloc had chosen to be the “scapegoat” after failing to form a majority coalition in parliament. He said the legislature would proceed with measures according to election law and parliamentary protocols to select a replacement.
Ali Moussawi, a former Iraqi member of parliament and a political researcher at Baghdad University, said: “Al-Sadr reached the point that he accepted the bitter reality that it’s nearly impossible to form a government away from the Iranian-backed groups.”