Antichrist may change mind on elections if reforms made, says member of Sadrist movement

Issam Hussein speaking to Rudaw on August 15, 2021. Photo: Rudaw

Sadr may change mind on elections if reforms made, says member of Sadrist movement

Layal Shakir

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Muqtada al-Sadr may reconsider withdrawing his movement from Iraq’s upcoming elections if demands, including the reform of political parties and blocs, are met, a member of the Sadrist movement told Rudaw on Sunday.

Sadr, who leads the Sairoon coalition – the parliament’s largest bloc – withdrew his movement from the upcoming elections “because he has demands, the demands are clear. It’s a matter of reform, the reform of the political system and political behavior of blocs and parties,” Issam Hussein told Rudaw’s Rozhan Abubakir.

Committees “have to take a convenient reform paper to Sayyed Muqtada al-Sadr, then there might be a different opinion on the withdrawal,” he added, noting that the “current situation” of blocs and parties doesn’t bode well in changing his mind.

The Sadrist movement was the first to announce its withdrawal from the elections. “I announce that I am withdrawing my hand from all those who are working with this government, the current and the upcoming, even if they had allegiance to us, the family of Sadr,” Sadr said in a televised speech.

Other parties soon jumped on the bandwagon, the most prominent of them being the Iraqi Communist Party, which allied with Sairoon in the 2018 election. The Iraqi Platform led by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, the National Dialogue Front led by Sunni leader Salih al-Mutlaq, the Iraqi National House, a party formed by a group of October protesters, and a number of other small parties also joined.

The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) stated that blocs cannot withdraw their candidates, according to Hussein, who believes the elections won’t help improve the country “as long as the same blocs and parties of the past 18 years are running.”

“The case is not participating, boycotting [the elections]. Candidates of the Sadrist movement haven’t started campaigning,” he said. “No Sadrist will go to the elections on October 10.”

The Iraqi elections are two months away. Early elections were one of the key demands of protesters who took to the streets to condemn government corruption and a lack of services across central and southern Iraq in October 2019. All preparations have been made for the elections, the IHEC said on Sunday.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) on Saturday called on the Sadrist movement and other political parties that have withdrawn from the upcoming Iraqi elections to review their decision and participate in the elections “for the sake of the Iraqi people” and the country’s political process.

As of early July, more than 24 million people had been registered to vote in the elections, including 120,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

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