Iraqi supporters of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr wave the national flag as they listen to his speech during a demonstration in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square on Feb. 26, 2016, calling for governmental reform and elimination of corruption. (Photo: AFP/Ahmad al-Rubaye)
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Muqtada al-Sadr, a key Shia Muslim cleric in Iraq, called his supporters to participate in the upcoming elections, warning people that boycotting the ballot would pave the way for corrupters to gain power.
The parliamentary election is scheduled to be held across Iraq on May 12 and will include the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region.
“Whoever wants to sell Iraq to the corrupters and abandon reform and patriotism, let the elections be boycotted, and whoever wants to complete the project, let him win the elections and keep the power corrupt,” Sadr addressed his supporters on his official social media network.
He warned his followers against boycotting the elections and said the move would pave the way for those who are suspected of corruption to reach Parliament again.
“We do not elect a particular religion, a particular faith, a particular doctrine, a certain ideology, a particular party, a particular bloc, not a specific person, but we elect Iraq for Iraq, for all freedom of religion, belief and thought,” he added.
Sadr warned that returning the same “current faces” to power in the upcoming elections would “end Iraq.”
Sadr has previously led many protests demanding reform and the end of corruption which has partially contributed to the financial crisis and instability in the country.
The Iraqi Shia cleric has a parliamentary bloc with 34 seats in the Iraqi Parliament with considerable influence in Baghdad and the predominantly Shia southern provinces. He is also known for being against Iran’s influence in the country.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany