Iraq May Dissolve Parliament After Fist-Fights, Sit-Ins

Sadr Supporters Stage Mass Protest in Basra

Iraqi parliament speaker Salim al-Jabouri has issued a statement suggesting he is strongly considering dissolving the legislative body and ordering new elections amid disputes over a new cabinet, which escalated into a chaotic session today.

Several factions have been pushing Prime Minister Hayder Abadi to follow through on appointing a technocrat cabinet, to try to get corruption under control. The cabinet isn’t expected to pass a vote, and the planned Tuesday vote was cancelled, tentatively rescheduled to Thursday. Whether that’s going to happen at this point is even more doubtful, after Sunni MPs announced a “sit-in” today, and Shi’ite and Kurdish MPs got in fistfights with one another.

Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, a major proponent of the technocrat cabinet, has continued to organize protests to get them into place. The Sunni MPs also appear supportive of the idea, while the larger Shi’ite bloc, of which Abadi is a member, oppose the idea.

Calls by Kurdish MPs for Abadi to resign were met by Shi’ites demanding President Fuad Masum, a top Kurd, also resign, along with Jabouri, the top-ranking Sunni Arab in the government.

In theory a new election is supposed to be called by the president at the request of the PM, but under Iraqi law one third of the parliament can also request a vote on dissolution. At this point it seems likely they would be able to get that vote through.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.