LONDON: The patriarch of the Chaldean Church has urged Iraqi political blocs to start a national consultation to break the stalemate that has stifled the country.
Warning about an upcoming political “tsunami … that can overwhelm us all,” Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako’s comments come after the occupation of the Iraqi Parliament by supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr following months of political stalemate since elections in October 2021 that failed to produce a government. MPs elected in October’s vote have also yet to select a new president.
The occupation of Parliament by Sadrists has led to pro-Iran Shiite parties organizing demonstrations and sit-ins nearby.
Iraq “is in an incandescent phase, marked by political stalemate and by the unemployed and poor who take to the streets,” said Sako.
“The scenario is frightening, and delays cannot be tolerated. Political leaders and also religious authorities must remedy the situation before a tsunami is unleashed that can overwhelm us all.”
Sako said people must recognize the failure of the country’s sectarian quota system, which he said has produced “corruption and injustice.”
He added that people need to find “new approaches and new ways” to design an efficient political system where partisan interests are not prioritized over the needs of the people.
The division of Iraqi institutional offices has been conducted on an ethnic-sectarian basis since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime. The president must be a Kurd, the Parliament speaker a Sunni and the prime minister a Shiite.