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Sistani is mounting pressure on the political blocs and Sadr to protest again

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Pressure mounted on the Iraqi political class on Friday over the issue of naming a new prime minister, after a strongly-worded sermon from the Supreme Shiite religious authority, and the call of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to support his supporters to return to the street again.

Demand protests continue, in which the younger generation is the active factor, despite the repression and violence that have killed more than 480 people, the vast majority of them demonstrators, since the outbreak of the demonstrations on October 1, in Baghdad and cities in the south of the country.

“It is imperative to speed up the early elections so that the people will have their say,” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said in his Friday sermon, which was read by his representative, Sheikh Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalai.

He added, “We must (…) accelerate the formation of the new government” and “take the necessary steps to conduct free and fair elections as soon as possible.”

The Marjaiya call comes as a simulation of the demands of demonstrators in Baghdad and the Shiite-dominated cities of the south, who are demanding early parliamentary elections and an independent figure in place of the resigned Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi.

Parties are holding last-minute talks to name a new prime minister, after President Barham Salih set a deadline of February 1 for the political blocs to present their alternative candidate from Abdul-Mahdi.

An official in the office of the President of the Republic told AFP that “President Barham Saleh hosts the leaders of the various political blocs in an attempt to reach a consensus candidate.”

– Back chest –

Saleh warned the political blocs that he would unilaterally name a new prime minister, if she did not submit her candidate.

Abdul-Mahdi submitted his resignation last December, after two months of protests against his government, which witnessed bloody violence.

Immediately after the reference sermon, Sadr published a statement on Twitter calling on his supporters to return to the street again.

Al-Sadr had called for a demonstration last Friday in which thousands participated in denouncing the American presence in the country, after which he announced that he would not interfere with the required movement “neither in the negative nor in the affirmative”, which made apartments in the street and even among his supporters.

In his tweet, Sadr said, “I find it in the interest to renew the peaceful reform revolution through (…) a massive peaceful popular demonstration in the capital,” and “mass peaceful sit-ins near the Green Zone.”

Thus, the complications are due to the political scene in the country, where the constitutional deadline for choosing a prime minister has repeatedly been exceeded.

Normally, the constitution stipulates that the largest parliamentary bloc nominate a candidate for prime minister within 15 days of the legislative elections. Then the President of the Republic assigns the Prime Minister to form his government within one month.

But the constitution does not mention in its articles the possibility of the resignation of the Prime Minister. Consequently, the 15-day period has passed since Abdul-Mahdi’s resignation.

Any candidate will need to endorse the divided political blocs, the supreme Shi’a religious authority, and Iran and its enemy the United States, in addition to the approval of the rising street for nearly four months.

– Loss of maneuver element –

The street has rejected a number of names that have been circulating recently, including former Minister of Communications Muhammad Tawfiq Allawi, and today he announced his rejection with a large banner nominating the head of the intelligence service, Mustafa Al-Kazemi.

And it became popular that Al-Kazemi is the candidate of the President of the Republic who maneuvered him in the face of the division of parties.

In late December, Saleh announced his readiness to resign, after he refused to present the pro-Iranian coalition candidate, Basra Governor Asaad al-Eidani, to the post of prime minister to parliament, considering him a “polemical” figure.

A senior government official told France Press that one of the reasons for the continuing stalemate is the absence of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Deputy Chairman of the Popular Mobilization Organization, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, who was assassinated by Washington by a raid from a plane in Baghdad on January 3.

These two people were very influential in brokering political agreements between the parties.

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