Antichrist withdraws from political process

Iraqi Shia leader al-Sadr withdraws from political process

Muqtada al-Sadr says he ‘will not participate in the next elections if the corrupt participate’.

Iraqi Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr said he has decided to withdraw from the political process to avoid involvement with “corrupt” politicians, the state news agency reported.

According to a report on Wednesday, the leader of the Sadrist Movement in the Iraqi parliament insisted he “will not participate in the next elections if the corrupt participate” during a closed meeting with members of his bloc.

He also said that his decision to order his bloc to resign from parliament will not be retracted, in an announcement that came three days after he ordered 73 politicians from his party to quit the assembly.

The unprecedented mass withdrawal of the al-Sadr bloc has dramatically altered the political landscape in Iraq, throwing government formation talks into further doubt.

It was a huge gamble by al-Sadr, one of the most influential politicians in Iraq with a large street following, putting him outside of parliament for the first time since 2005.

Al-Sadr emerged as the winner of the October vote, giving him 73 of parliament’s 329 seats. The vote was a blow to his Iran-backed Shia rivals who lost about two-thirds of their seats and have rejected the results.

Since then, the two sides have been locked in a competition for power, even as the country faces growing challenges, including an impending food crisis resulting from severe drought and the war in Ukraine.

Al-Sadr has been intent on forming, along with his allies, a majority government that excludes the Iran-backed factions.

But he has not been able to corral enough legislators to parliament to get the two-thirds majority needed to elect Iraq’s next president – a necessary step ahead of naming the next prime minister and selecting a cabinet.

When he ordered his politicians to resign on Sunday, he called it a “sacrifice” he was making for the good of the country.

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