Tue, 26 Sep 2023

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BAGHDAD, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- The political gridlock continues in Iraq after the federal court rejected a demand to dissolve the parliament, complicating the already tense political scene almost 11 months after the Oct. 10 parliamentary elections last year.

The political disputes have escalated between Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Sadrist Movement, the biggest winner with 73 seats in the parliament on Oct. 10, and his rivals in the Coordination Framework (CF), an umbrella group of Shiite parliamentary parties.

Al-Sadr demanded in the past weeks to dissolve parliament and hold early elections, but his demands were rejected by the CF parties that became the largest bloc after al-Sadr ordered his followers in the Sadrist Movement to withdraw from the parliament in June.

Al-Sadr tried to resort to the Federal Supreme Court to dissolve the parliament, but the court stressed on Sept. 7 in a statement that the constitution defines its jurisdiction, which does not include the dissolution of the parliament.

The court statement also blamed the political blocs for bypassing the constitutional periods of government formation, saying it is "a violation of the constitution and a demolition of the entire political process."

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Nadhum al-Jubouri, a political analyst from Salhudin province in northern Iraq, said the court's rejection to dissolve the parliament has complicated the scene and paved the way for the CF to elect a president and form a new government.

One scenario al-Jubouri expected is that the CF would increase internal and external pressure on al-Sadr to accept the CF's approach of forming the next government to end the crisis, and to participate in the government according to Sadrist Movement's share of 73 seats in the parliament.

Another scenario suggests that al-Sadr may again resort to protest if there is no acceptable solution in the coming days, al-Jubouri said.

He believes that the second scenario is more likely because al-Sadr's haggling with his pro-Iran Shiite rivals in the CF "would negatively affect his popularity as he claims himself the leader of reform, and would be a political suicide if he acquiesces to the other Shiite political opponents."

For his part, Sabah al-Sheikh, a teacher of politics at Baghdad University, said "it is not possible to form a government without al-Sadr's approval, and even if it is formed, it will not be able to do anything because al-Sadr has supporters in all the central and southern provinces and the capital."

Al-Sheikh stressed the need to achieve some of the conditions al-Sadr set, including the dissolution of parliament and early elections, and proposed to send a delegation from the Shiite CF, the Sunni al-Siyada Alliance, and the Kurdistan Democratic Party to visit al-Sadr and reach an understanding with him to end the political deadlock.

Hashim al-Shamaa, a researcher of political affairs at the Iraq Center for Legal Development in Baghdad, was more optimistic about reaching the end of the months-long political gridlock.

There will be a breakthrough to the political impasse that would appease all the opposing groups after the Shiite ritual of Arbaeen, which will reach its climax on Sept. 24, he said.

"The breakthrough will include, among other details, the dissolution of parliament and early elections in no more than one year," said al-Shamaa, referring that undeclared negotiations are underway between the conflicting parties.

"A government led by an independent figure will be formed to satisfy all parties," al-Shamaa said.

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