yesterday at 09:53
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Iraq’s influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Saturday again denounced the prevalence of militias in the country and called for a united government ahead of the new parliament’s first session.
“Today, there is no place for sectarianism and no room for racism,” reads a statement from Sadr, whose political bloc won 73 seats, the largest number, in Iraq’s October parliamentary election.
“There is no place for militias, for everyone will support the army, and police, and security forces,” the cleric, who himself founded the active militia Saraya al-Salam, added.
Sadr’s statement comes a day ahead of the new parliament’s first sitting, where members will be sworn in, and parties are set to elect the parliamentary speaker and its deputies.
Early elections were called in response to mass protests in the country beginning in October 2019, caused by widespread dissatisfaction with Iraq’s politicians and endemic corruption in the country.
Sadr, winning the largest parliamentary bloc, has previously expressed opposition towards militias, and has called for having the state control arms.
The Sadrist bloc has also begun efforts to establish a cabinet containing the election’s largest winners. A delegation from the Sadrist bloc met with Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leader Masoud Barzani in Erbil on Tuesday, discussing the October 10 elections and the formation of a new government for Iraq.
According to a long standing agreement, the three main positions in Iraq are divided among Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis. Whereas, Kurds get the presidency, Shiites get the premiership, and Sunnis get the parliamentary speaker.
According to Article 54 of the Iraqi constitution, when the election results are confirmed, it sets in motion a process for the winning parties to form a government. Within 15 days of the ratification of the results, the president calls on the parliament to meet, chaired by its eldest member, and elect a speaker and two deputies by an absolute majority during its first session according to Article 55. The parliament also elects a president from among candidates by a two-thirds majority.
The president then tasks the largest bloc in the parliament with forming the government, naming a prime minister within 15 days of the election of the president. The prime minister-elect then has 30 days to name a cabinet.